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We present a flexible approach to the observation of multi-modal communication streams over the course of project-based collaboration such as engineering design. We introduce team communication networks to formalize the occurrence and evolution of actors, resources, and semantic relationships in distributed design information spaces. Analyzing the digital traces of IT-mediated collaboration, we computationally construct team communication networks in an unobtrusive and progressive manner, thus providing a live view into the digital communication and information sharing activities of design teams. A service-based team communication network platform has been implemented and applied in distributed engineering design projects to enable the temporal analysis of information sharing activities and to support in the identification of characteristic communication patterns in distributed collaboration groups.