Outlines design concepts for the development of a "cooperative" distributed computer-based communication system in the office environment. A review of present electronic message systems is given with a summary of the particular requirements that the office information processing environment demands. This is followed by a discussion of the basic components and processes underlying a distributed computer-based message system (DOCS). The DOCS system concept utilizes active communication networks containing procedural representations of specific office information processing tasks. A key feature is the notion of the user's construction and maintenance of the communication system through the mechanism of example-based procedures. 25 pp. Ref.