When you log in to BSCW for the very first time, your personal portal contains a lot of widgets (e.g. your home folder, address book, personal calendar, microblog), but these widgets may show very few or no entries at all. In case you have been invited to a workspace, you have at least one concrete example how collaboration in BSCW looks like. But if not, your home folder (“Workspaces of your-user-name”) is empty and you might ask yourself how to start working with BSCW.
The simplest way of starting is to create a workspace of your own that you share with other users:
• Select File New Workspace from the top menu or click on the in the action shortcut bar. In the section ‘General’ you enter name and optionally tags and a description of the new workspace. The names of documents and folders underlie restrictions concerning the use of special characters; you are notified of violations. Tags are freely chosen keywords under which you or other users may find the workspace.
• In the section ‘General’ you can further choose a template for the subfolder structure of the new workspace. Such templates may be available for your BSCW server. For a first time, you may leave it at ‘no template’.
Finally, you may have certain shared objects automatically generated for the new workspace: a workspace portal, a group calendar, a contact list, a folder for upload per e-mail, a template folder and a workspace-specific trash. Make your choice by checking or unchecking the respective check-boxes.
Note: The workspace-specific trash receives all objects deleted by the members of the workspace. Only the workspace manager and the creator can undelete or finally destroy objects in the workspace trash. The trash itself cannot be deleted after creation.
• Go to the ‘Members’ section of the action form and select the future members of your workspace:
• Select the ‘Enter e-mail addresses or user names’ option of the drop down menu, enter e-mail addresses of people already registered on your BSCW server (you probably won’t know their precise BSCW user names) or of people you want to invite to register with your BSCW server (if you are authorized to invite new users or your server allows self-registration) and hit [Add].
• Alternatively, choose the option ‘Search for BSCW users’ and enter a search string which is meant to be part of a user name. Select any candidates from the search results and hit [Add] again. You can combine both methods of specifying members.
• Select the desired role, e.g. ‘Member’, for the members of your workspace and enter an optional invitation text that will be added to invitation e-mails to be sent to members that you have invited to register.
• The sections ‘Document Review’ and ‘Automatic Versioning’ are about defining a review process and automatic versioning for the documents of the new workspace. Forget about these sections for the time being, you can come back to these subjects later.
• Hit [OK] to create the new workspace.
Open the new workspace, load up some documents you want to share with the members of the new workspace, create a new discussion forum within the workspace or call a meeting in the workspace’s calendar.
Note: Don’t confuse workspaces and communities. When starting work with BSCW, you will most probably want to create a workspace and not a community. Communities are meant to accommodate very large groups of users with shared interests and have their specific limitations as far as access rights are concerned.