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As a variety of low-cost note-taking devices becomes pervasive, shared notes can help work groups better communicate ideas and information. To explore this idea further, we carried out three related case studies of how members of a large research group shared meeting notes. The group found value in combining personal notes and presentation slides with a single, unifying document, such as regular meeting minutes. The minutes provided structure when there were too many sources of notes. We used this insight in our design of NotePals, a note-sharing system with a lightweight process, an interface, and hardware that distinguish it from previous systems. We have developed note-taking applications that run on inexpensive personal digital assistants and other ink-based capture devices, such as the paper-based CrossPad™. Experience with using NotePals has shown that shared notes can add value to meeting, conference, and class records.
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