This paper is the first in a series of reports aimed at providing the basis for the development of a test corpus that might be used to compare collaboration software intended to support collaboraive authoring. In the final analysis, a set of tests, and test data will be defined that might be used to make benchmark comparisons of specific software offerrings. It is hoped that a scalable and extensible test suite can be developed that will work not only with the current array of software offerrings, but with future offerings.
To that goal, this paper describes broad issues related to software to aid collaboration, focusing on collaborative authoring. The issues include principles of computer-supported collaborative work, groupware technology and research on collaborative authoring. The paper proposes a conceptual framework for collaboration and identifies within the framework features, both existing and possible, that would meet the requirements of collaborative authoring software. The primary function of this paper is to serve as a basis for two additional papers. The second paper in the series will endeavor to describe both the data and the methods that might be used to ascertain the existence of the features identified in this paper. The final "paper" will instantiate representative data sets, testing code, and procedures to be used in actual testing.