Die erste Version des Beitrages “Socio-technically Integrated Access to Virtual Communities with CommunityMirrors” haben wir schon vor drei Jahren geschrieben. So lange dauerte der Prozess der Veröffentlichung des Sammelbandes “Virtual Communities”, in dem der Beitrag nun endlich in Abschnitt 4 “Extending Virtual Communities Beyond Traditional Boundaries” erschienen ist.
Community support is continuously gaining more and more importance, especially in areas where inter-human communication is a critical success factor, e.g. in knowledge management. One important issue concerning community support is making the community and the activitiy in the community visible to its members. Knowing better what other community members know and do can help to improve information supply by making information that is usually “hidden” inside of today’s IT systems available to the community and to outsiders. In this chapter we present an approach, which helps to make community awareness information visible in a socio-technically integrated, interactive way. The concept is based on large touch screens or interactive projections in semi-public places like lobbies or coffee corners. These socio-technical systems, called CommunityMirrors, help people to see, touch and experience digital content, and find information by chance without having to look for it explicitly. Intuitive presentation and interaction possibilities on large touch screens improve the visibility of information, the awareness about what is happening in the underlying systems and corresponding communities, and last but not least generate appreciation for information providers. Moreover, through the integration into the social context CommunityMirrors support inter-human communication between users standing in front of the screens and enhance the motivation of information providers for the generation of new content.