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Mail2Tag: Information Sharing through Augmenting Email Practices with Implicit Tag-based Categorization
Conferences & Talks

COCOA 2010: Workshop on Coordination, Collaboration and Ad-hoc Processes

6 December 2010



Despite considerable interest and activity in new methods and processes for supporting work, we find that email remains the primary way for sharing information in enterprises. Among many of its capabilities, email has proven to be a very adaptable means for dealing with ad hoc interest groups and situations. In this paper, we examine the design of a system for lightweight organizational sharing called Mail2Tag, which augments email by utilizing existing email sharing practices to help gather content, implicitly organize that content, and evolve both the shared content and the groups of people interested in that content. The underlying vision is to get the right information to the right people at the right time, without increasing overall information noise. We developed and deployed Mail2Tag, an enterprise social software system for organizational information sharing. The design of the system builds on the ever-present use of email as a fundamental mechanism for sharing. By enabling users to use freeform tags as addresses in an email, it leverages existing email practices to promote bottom-up folksonomy- based organization of the knowledge shared without the need to install any special email client. As we deploy this system, we wondered how successful the system was being adopted in our deployment? Further, what are the criteria and comparisons we should use to evaluate success? In the two years of Mail2Tag deployment, we have found that answering these questions is actually quite difficult.