Group collaboration software

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Group collaboration software provides tools for groups of people or organizations to share information and coordinate activities. IBM Lotus Notes, developed originally by Lotus Corporation, is considered one of the first commercially successful group collaboration tools. Many other applications and services have been developed and offered to the marketplace as well. The field is also sometimes referred to as collaborative software.

These tools typically include member and email list management, a shared address book, shared calendar, project/task management, a shared file system, and tools for online collaborative document creation such as wikis, blogs, discussions boards, etc. Some services offer a suite of integrated tools while others focus on delivering a single solution like shared file storage.

The UK Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies describes group collaboration tools as related to but different from social networking tools and content management systems.[1]

Jon Udell's influential Practical Internet Groupware is a standard design guide for networked collaboration tools. Udell recommended they be built on top of existing standards, like email servers, news servers, and web servers.[2]

A number of free online group collaborations solutions exist. In 2000 Yahoo purchased eGroups and renamed the service Yahoo! Groups. This is probably the most widely used service although other companies such as AOL and Microsoft also offer online group solutions. More recently a number of startups like Wiggio, AirSet and Groopt, have emerged to take advantage of newer browser technologies like Ajax to deliver more sophisticated applications in their collaboration suites.

Wikis work well for group collaboration and they appear to be one of the major innovations in group collaboration. Now being incorporated into college courses to help familiarize students with the process of group collaboration. Wikipedia seems to be the most representative example in the public domain, while several success stories (such as PBwiki) can be found in the corporate field. Google Groups combines email, web-forum, and a group wiki.


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