Paul Dourish, Georgios Meditskos, Rachel Jones, Allan MacLean
Proc. of Group '99, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A., 14-17 November 1999.
Process descriptions are used in workflow and related systems to describe the flow of work and organisational
responsibility in business processes, and to aid in coordination. However, the division of a working process into
a sequence of steps provides only a partial view of the work involved. In many cases, the performanc of
individual tasks in a larger process may depend on interpretations and understandings of how other aspects of
the work were conducted.

We present an example from an ethnographic investigation of one particular organisation, and introduce a
mechanism, which we call "Perspectives", for dealing with it. A "Perspective" uses the process description to
provide an index into the history of a document moving through a process. Perspectives allow workflow
systems to manage and present information about the execution of specific process instances within the
general frame of abstract process descriptions.
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