Computer Mediated Communcation (CMC)
Research Group

 CMC Research home page 


 K2LAB home page 



CMC Research Group 

K2LAB Research Laboratory 

Department of Computer and Systems Sciences

Stockholm University and (earlier also KTH Technical University) 


By Jacob Palme, e-mail
Last revision: 29-Nov-2014

Scope of research 
Research topics 
Ongoing and recently finished research projects 
List of researchers in the group 

Computer Mediated Communication 
Master's thesis ideas (in Swedish) 
 Table of projects and funding 

 This research group performs research both of a social science and technical nature in the area of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), i.e. the use of computers for communication of information between humans.

The group has special interest in: 

  • Use of CMC for scientific communication 
  • Use of CMC as an educational tool 
  • CMC as an organisational, societal, and cultural phenomenon 
  • Design of software for e-mail and non-simultaneous group communication 
  • Standards for e-mail and non-simultaneous group communication 
  • Information quality and filtering in CMC software 
  • Quality on the Internet 
  • Electronic mail and other networked application standards 

Natural Language Question Answering

 Use of natural language question-answering in a large and poular medical information web site at This web site was opened to the public in the middle of July, 2003, and already in August 2003 had more than 17000 visitors and more than 350000 page hits per month. Its development is part of an EU-funded research project. Similar technology is also used in the EU-funded ADD-WIJZER project. 

Groupware for Distributed Content Production


Demonstrate, in a practical experiment, the use of tools for distributed, multilingual content production, which have been developed by partner C2 in a previous EU-funded project. Central properties of these tools are:

Every object in the data base can exists in multiple versions in different languages. There can even be more than one version in each language. For example, a new object may first be machine-translated to different target languages, and the machine-translations may later be replaced by human translations.

Every object for publication will have, associated with it, a forum. In this forum, the designers in different countries can discuss the object, suggest changes, supply revised versions, etc. Also the contributions to these forums will be multi-lingual in the same way as the object for publication.
These facilities will be demonstrated in a user group of psychiatrists and psychotherapists, who will use the system to develop health information in the mental health area.

For more information, see

Project started: July 2002.
Researchers: Andrea Andrenucci, Lars Enderin, Jacob Palme, Torgny Tholerus
Funding: European Community eContent project


Support System for Developing Terminology Databases


Terminology data bases are common as an aid to information exchange for scientists and specialists in various areas, for translation and teaching.

This project aims at developing tools to support the development of such data base by a group of people who do not meet face-to-face. The support tools will be based on the forum system model, where every term can be seen as a forum, and discussions related to this term can occur in this forum.

Project started: January 2000.
Researchers: Jacob Palme, Torgny Tholerus, Lars Enderin
Funding: Carl Tryggers fond för vetenskaplig forskning


Decision Support for E-mailed Groups


When people co-operate through e-mail instead of face-to-face meetings, there is often a difficulty to reach a decision. There is also a risk for so-called flaming, where too much is written without any constructive result.

This project aims at developing support tools, which will enable people in an e-mail-connected group to continuously know their partners opinions. This will remove the need to write a message to show your opinion, and it will to some extent replace the use of body language in face-to-face meetings to know other people's views.

Project started: January 2000.
Researchers: Jacob Palme, Torgny Tholerus, Lars Enderin
Funding: TERENA


KOM 2002 - Multilingual Forum System


KOM 2002 is a forum system with special support for multilinguality. Every forum can be announced in a number of natural languages, with title and presentation in all the languages. Contributions written in one language can automatically or manually be translated to other languages. Users can specify their language of preference, and will read the contributions in a forum in their preferred language.

Project started: January 2001
Researchers: Jacob Palme, Torgny Tholerus, Lars Enderin
Funding: EU fifth framework, 2000-2002 (as part of the SALUT project).


SALUT - Use of IT as an aid in handling eating disorders


SALUT will leverage advances in information and telecommunications technology to design, prototype and trial innovative tools and cost effective strategies for the prevention, diagnostics and treatment of eating disorders.
      To achieve this goal, the project consortium will design expert systems to provide more flexible diagnostic and decision support tools. Technology and scientific partners will jointly develop new therapeutic tools and strategies using web-based applications, emerging wireless telecommunications standards. SALUT will also implement regional research and prevention networks among the partner countries. The network aims to promote innovation by providing a meeting point for collaboration, and information exchange between researchers and practitioners. A public interface is also available to facilitate dissemination of health recommendation and prevention material to the general public.

Note: KTH's participatiion in this project has been continued in the Web4Health project.

Project duration: January 2001 to December 2001
Researchers: Jacob Palme, Torgny Tholerus, Lars Enderin
Funding: EU fifth framework (2000-2002).


Domestication of ICT - How the new technology is appropriated by the elderly in Sweden


The population in the western world is getting older and older. Within the European Union 1997 the number of elderly (60 years of age and older) was 21% of the total population and this figure is expected to reach 30 % by the year 2030. As the information and communication technologies (ICT) are spreading around the world, the discourse of equal access is becoming more and more central. One of the groups with obvious problems with access to the ICT is the elderly: Often they do not have the means nor competence required for adequate and meaningful ICT usage.
    The objectives of this research are to observe and analyse how ICT is appropriated in domestic spaces. As domestication refers to the process of reorganisation (in this case, of a technology) according to the interests of people, the research will pay specific attention to the ways in which technologies are adapted and how new forms of usage are invented in order to meet the needs and expectations of the users.
    The research methods applied are being qualitative in nature as the focus is on exploring, describing, and explaining a phenomenon. We are to find out about experiences, ideas, and feelings.
    A major strength of qualitative data is that they focus on naturally occurring, ordinary events in natural settings so that we can have a strong handle on what "real life" is like. The data is collected in close proximity to a specific situation and thus the emphasis is on a specific case, a focused and bounded phenomenon embedded in its context. The influences of the local context are not stripped away, but are taken into account.

Project started: October 1998
Researchers: Sirkku Männikkö
Funding: (1998-2000) EU Telematics program, (2000-2002) KFB.


KOM 2000 distributed, web-based groupware 

 The KOM 2000 distributed, web-based groupware system is developed at DSV. KOM 2000 has special features for multi-language conferencing, closed, open and restricted groups, distance education and voting.

Project started: May 1998 
Researchers: Torgny Tholerus, Lars Enderin, Jacob Palme
Funding: EU Telematics program

Gott-IT-land, a school development project in the municipality of Gotland 

 The municipality of Gotland has gathered 14 minor IT projects in schools around the island under a common umbrella that consists of a program for competence development for teachers. Gott-IT-land project has as its overall goals : active student, changed role of the teacher, internationalization, library as a pedagogical resource, quality and efficiency. Projects represent five different themes: competence development for teachers, IT in the new student and teacher role, language - internationalization, student support, preparations for the future. 
   During a three year period, all the school personnel is to participate in courses about IT and workteam methodology. As a result of the training personnel should be able to work in teams and use IT as a pedagogical tool. 
   The Gott-IT-land project is to bring resources, both material and competence wise, to the schools so that pedagogy can be developed in order to meet the needs of the next millennium and to provide the students with the knowledge of the technology of the future so that they will be able to live in the global village. 
   The evaluation of the project is done continuously during the project time and in a formative manner which means that feedback is given along the way in order to secure the right course in the projects. 
   Evaluation is conducted through interviews, participant observation and document analysis. An important part of the evaluation is the self evaluations done by the participants themselves. Traditionally, schools do not have the habit of self evaluation. It is, however, important for an organization to reflect upon the work that is done in order to be able to learn from the mistakes and to grow the awareness of the common ideology and of goals that should guide the every day work. 
   A report from the evaluators is delivered annually to the project, the first one in August 1997. 

Project started: January 1997 
Project to be finished: 1999 
Researchers: Sirkku Männikkö

SeniorOnline -- Use of CMC for the support of elderly people

"Elderly people cannot learn to use computers!", "Elderly people cannot benefit from computer communications!": There are many prejudices in our view of elderly people. The success of SeniorNet in America has shown that we have to find innovative ways to break such prejudices. Internet and other uses of information technology (IT) is rapidly changing the life of people in Europe. It is important that elderly people are not left out of these changes. 
   The goal of this project is to stimulate people above 55 years of age to use tools for exchange of information between humans on the Internet. To achieve this goal we will set up CMC services with (1) access to special interest topics, (2) a frequently asked question area moderated by geriontology experts, (3) forums to exchange messages on any topic of interest, and (4) multimedia electronic mail. The service will be available in the native languages of the project user group members. 
   We will support existing and stimulate the formation of new organisations for the elderly, investigate their needs in using CMC and IT, Select, design, develop and demonstrate methods to help and teach elderly people on how to use CMC and IT. Our development will be based on existing Internet standards, World Wide Web, e-mail and the Web4Groups system (which has been developed in an EU-Telematics project) or the KOM 2000 system (which is a new system based on ideas from Web4Groups). We will not develop new web browsers, but may modify existing web browsers through plug-ins, helpers or Java/Javascript applets. 

Project started: October 1998. 
Researchers: Sirkku Männikkö, Jacob Palme, Torgny Tholerus, Lars Enderin
Funding: EU Telematics program. 

 Making it easier for people to find their ways in the yellow pages

This project aims to develop intuitive tools to enable people to easier find, in the computerized version of the yellow pages in the phone directory, of finding the right supplier for particular services and products.

Project started: 1996
Researchers: Kent Jansson
Project leader: Jacob Palme
Funding: No funding at present

Collaborative filtering systems are software systems to help Internet users find the most valuable and interesting information, aided by other people's ratings. Some collaborative filtering systems will even tailor the filtering to your particular needs, interests, competence and values, by using rating values produced by other people with similar views as yours. This project will develop and test new tools for rating and filtering.

Project started: December 1998. 
Researchers: Jacob Palme, Torgny Tholerus, Lars Enderin.
Funding: EU Telematics program.


Conveying research results to standards bodies

It is important that standards support new ideas rather than block them. Because of this, researchers should participate in standards work and try to encourage standards which can encompass new ideas currently in the research area. This thus not mean that we should make standards on things which are still at the research stage, but that standards should allow the new ideas which are coming without restricting them. 

Projekt started: 1987 
Researchers: Jacob Palme
Funding: Televerket, Trygger foundation, EU Telematics program.


An ethnographic study of BBS-es in Sweden

A number of Swedish BBSes are studied with ethnographic methods in order to define, describe and analyse the emergent virtual communities. 

Project started: April 1996
Project finished: April 1998 
Researchers: Sirkku Männikkö, Jacob Palme, Yvonne Waern.
Funding: Kommunikationsforskningsberedningen. 


Use of CMC and problem-based teaching in distance education (in Swedish)

This project performs a distance course for secondary school teachers on how to use the Internet. The course is based on problem-based teaching methods and uses CMC (computer conferencing, e-mail, chat systems, MUD/MOO systems) as educational tools. The course and its teaching methods are at the same time evaluated using ethnographic evaluation methods. 

Project started: April 1996 
Project finished: October 1997 
Researchers: Eva Fåhræus, Sirkku Männikkö, Jacob Palme, Yvonne Waern.
Funding: DU-KOM. 


Intelligent filters in CMC

This project investigates various methods of using more or less intelligent filters to aid users to select the most interensting information for them in the flow of information in CMC. At present, we are investigating machine learning methods to detect what interests particular users of Usenet News. Our research includes both technical and behavioural (user studies) research in this area. 

Project started: July 1993 
Project finished: December 1996 
Researchers: Eva Fåhræus, Christina Höök, Jussi Karlgren, Fredrik Kilander, Ann Lantz, Jacob Palme.
Funding: NUTEK an RALF. 


Use of CMC for distributation of research knowledge in the area of risk research (in Swedish!)

The aim of this project is to test how useful CMC can be for the distribution of research knowledge from universities to society. The test will be done in one practical project for dissemination of research knowledge on risks and risk evaluation. 

Project started: January 1995 
Project finished: December 1996 
Researchers: Sirkku Männikkö, Jacob Palme.
Funding: Kommunikationsforskningsberedningen. 



The aim of this project is to investigate how CMC is best used as a tool for distance education, and to specify and develop a CMC system with special support for distance education.As part of this project, KOM 2000 has been extended with special features to support distance education.

Project started: June 1994 
Researchers: Eva Fåhræus, Majid Aram, Kent Jansson, Tarja Lintunen, Sirkku Männikkö, Jacob Palme.
Funding: NUTEK. 


Research on the standards development process in the CMC area

The aim of this project is to study how standards in the CMC area are developed, and how the standards development process influences the success of the standards being developed. 

Project started: July 1995 
Researchers: Jacob Palme.
Funding: Televerket, Trygger foundation, EU Telematics program. 



This is an EU-funded pan-European research project for developing an advanced multi-media computer conferencing system based on the WWW. 

Project started: December 1994 
Project finished: June 1998
Researchers: Thomas Eliasson, Lars Enderin, Jacob Palme, Torgny Tholerus.
Funding: EU Telematics program.


KOM computer conferencing system

This project develops an advanced computer conferencing system, which will be used in the Web4Groups project. 

Project started: July 1992
Project finished: February 1996, but continued as Web4Groups   and KOM2000 .
Researchers: Lars Enderin, Jacob Palme, Torgny Tholerus.
Funding: PK-banken.


Development of an OSI standard for group communication and computer conferencing

This project has developed to CD status a proposal for an ISO standard for asynchronous computer conferencing 

Project started: 1998 
Project finished: 1994 
Researchers: Jacob Palme.
Funding: Televerket. 


User extensibility in CMC systems

This project investigates how CMC systems can be designed so that users can extend their functionalities to accomodate different user needs. 

Project started: September 1994 
Project finished: 1995 
Researchers: Tarja Lintunen, Jacob Palme.
Funding: NUTEK.


Use of BBS-es by Swedish teenagers (in Swedish!)

This project studies how Swedish teenagers use BBS-es and the Internet by a questionnaire sent to 2500 students in the 9th grade (about 15 years old) in schools in Stockholm. 

Project started: September 1994 
Researchers: Mats Wiklund.
Funding: No external funding.


This project developed a large multi-lingual web site with information about mental health. 

Project started: 2002 
Researchers: Jacob Palme, Torgny Tholerus, Lars Enderin.
Funding: European Union.


List of researchers in the group

 Jacob Palme , professor and leader of the research group.
 Lars Enderin, senior software developer and expert on Internet standards in the CMC area.
 Eva Fåhræus, Msc.Eng, PhD Candidate, research on computer-mediated education. 
  • Christina Höök ideas woman for the intfilter project. 
  • Carl Gustav Jansson, Supervisor on Machine Learning methods and coordinator with cognition centre. 
  • , doing research on intelligent directory systems. 
  • Jussi Karlgren, adviser and ideas man for the intfilter project. 
  • Fredrik Kilander, responsible for machine learning research and software development in the Intfilter project. 
  • Anita Kollerbaur, Adviser on HMI aspects and methods. 
  • Ann Lantz, User and usage studies researcher. 
  • Sirkku Männikkö
 Torgny Tholerus , senior software developer and designer, the man behind the KOM computer conferencing systems.
    Yvonne Waern , supervisor on HMI and user studies in the intfilter project. 
  • Mats Wiklund , doing research on legal versus illegal uses of CMC. 


Theses and publications

Since the research group is rather recently established, there are not yet many theses produced within the group. The only thesis produced is: 


Analyzing Groupware Adoption: A Framework and Three Case Studies in Lotus Notes Deployment

Language: English 
Author: Ulf Essler 
Date: January 1998 

The purpose of this thesis is to describe and analyze how Lotus Notes is adopted and used at project/departmental level in three Swedish companies of varying size and in different lines of business. The study is based on three longitudinal (one year) case studies. In the first chapter, the research area is introduced and the area of study is defined. In the second chapter, an integrated research framework is developed using primarily the Lead User Perspective, Critical Mass Theory and the Sociotechnical Systems Perspective. In the third chapter the research design, including the preparatory study, the main study and the data collection methods are laid out. The fourth and final chapter contain three individual case analyses, an aggregated case analysis, and a concluding discussion with implications for future research. Three case descriptions make up the appendices. The main results from the study with regard to the adoption are: 

  • Adoption failed (completely and partially) in two cases and was (partially) successful in one case.
  • The foci in the three cases with regard to application(s) were firstly co-ordination and secondly communication. In no case was collaboration of (primary) interest.
  • The failed adoption attempts were characterized by; (1) a local point of introduction (combined with traditionally low central control within the companies); (2) little or no organizational Lotus Notes knowledge; (3) a complete dependence of external Lotus Notes consultants; (4) high ambitions about what the technology was going to accomplish. 
  • The successful adoption were characterized by; (1) a central point of introduction (combined with a traditionally strong central control within the company); (2) good organizational Lotus Notes knowledge; (3) a clearly defined role for external Lotus Notes consultants; (4) moderate and clearly defined ambitions about what the technology was going to accomplish. 

Local and distance education using bi-directional video and sound communication - a case study

Language: Swedish. 
Swedish title: När- och distansutbildning med dubbelrtiktad bild- och ljudkommunikation - en fallbeskrivning 
By: Björn Rosengren 
Date: 1993 

A description of the experience of use of video conferencing for distance education between Stockholm and Gotland. Lectures were given simultaneously in Stockholm and Gotland. Lecturers alternated between the two locations, and the site without a lecturer could participate via video conferencing. Communication was two-directional, so that students at the site without a lecturer could still ask questions to the lecturer. 


Other publications

A separate document contains a list of references to recent research reports produced by the group, sorted with the most recent report first in the list.  

URL of this page: