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Monday, March 27 2017
12:00pm - 1:00pm

The Science of Managing Our Digital Stuff

Dr. Ofer Bergman, Information Science Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Prof. Steve Whittaker, Psychology Dept., University of California, Santa Cruz

This talk addresses Personal Information Management (PIM) - the processes and
technologies by which we manage our personal digital collections. Although each of us has vast, ever-growing personal digital collections, the most common way we organize our information is to use hierarchical folders, a technology that has been with us since the 1980s. There has been much criticism of folders over the years, leading to the development of new PIM technologies that aim to overcome folder limitations, including desktop search, tags and group information management. Each of these has strong intuitive benefits when compared with folders. Our talk will describe multiple studies that compare using traditional folders with these alternatives, finding repeated benefits for folders. We explain our counterintuitive results in terms of underlying cognitive and neuropsychology principles, showing that folders are cognitively less demanding. We conclude by introducing the user-subjective approach, which is the first design approach dedicated specifically to PIM, and one that builds on the benefits of folders rather than seeking to replace them.

Dr. Ofer Bergman is Associate Professor in Information Science at Bar Ian University, Tel Aviv, Israel, where he researches personal information management. He has published over 30 PIM papers in reviewed journals, the latest in Nature Scientific Reports. His work has been supported by the European Union, Israeli Science Foundation as well as by two Google Faculty Awards. He held a Marie Curie post-doc fellowship between 2007-2010.

Steve Whittaker is Professor of Human Computer Interaction at UC Santa Cruz. He works at the intersection of Psychology and Computer Science, studying how technology affects fundamental aspects of our everyday lives. He employs insights from social science to design new digital tools to improve productivity, memory, and well-being. His research has been funded by the NSF, European Union, and UK Science Councils as well as by Google and Microsoft. In the past he worked at Hewlett Packard, IBM and AT&T Labs. He is Editor of the journal Human Computer Interaction, and has numerous awards including ACM Fellow, Member of the ACM Computer Human Interaction Academy, and has a Lifetime Research Award from ACM Society for Research on Computer Human Interaction.

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