The development of customisable working environments that not only manage information and communication, but also support the work processes of organisations is very important. In this paper we describe a collaborative approach that offers customisation in terms of the modes of collaboration that can be used alternatively in different stages of a project, i.e. synchronous and asynchronous, for two main classes of documents, textual and graphical. Moreover, by using a hierarchical structure for representing the documents, we offer a flexibility of working at different granularity levels. We highlight the fact that the real-time and asynchronous modes of communication use the same basic mechanisms for maintaining consistency in the collaborative environments. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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