126 Email messages per day
53364 Messages in personal archive
123997 Files in home directory
Anecdotal numbers; not real data.
Information about a person
Information kept for
kept by and under the control
E.g. ﬁles, documents.
E.g. health information.
Information experienced by
Information directed to a
a person but outside her
E.g. email, IM.
E.g. books, websites browsed.
Information is Fragmented
Boardman 2004 Whittaker 1996
Boardman 2004 Paper
Information is Fragmented
1. Using Multiple Devices for PIM
• How do devices affect information ﬂows?
• Inter-relationships between devices
• Formation of groups of devices
• Attaining equilibrium in the information
• Custom strategies inﬂuenced by devices
• Device failures
• Hypothesis: The device is an important
consideration, which, in addition to the
speciﬁc collection, affects PIM practices.
• Finding(s): Exactly how a device (or group)
• E.g. why do people use their address book
on their phone, but not on their computer?
2. Evolution of PIM Practices
• Natural transitions in life
• High school to college
• Grad school to industry
• Is there a pattern of stages in which
information management practices change
in response to these transitions?
• How is equilibrium achieved?
• Hypothesis: There is a pattern in which
users develop strategies for PIM.
• This pattern can be reiﬁed and made
known to the next set of users who are
going to make similar transitions.
• Tool designers can take these patterns into
• PIM is highly individualized & contextual
• Tools are just the surface
• Deeper understanding needed
• Approaches: browsing versus searchingTeevan 2004
• Personalities: ﬁlers versus pilers Malone 1983
Study 1: PIM & Multiple Devices
• Survey + Interviews
• What activities do you perform on each
• What data do you keep on each device?
• What pairs of devices do you keep
• What failures have you encountered?
Study 2: PIM over time
• Longitudinal study of users across natural
transitions in life
• Recruited while still in “pre-” phase
• Graduating students moving to industry
• Undergrads continuing to grad school
• Spot interviews, longer stories,
observation, diary studies
[Details are still being worked out.]
An understanding of ...
• how PIM practices are inﬂuenced by devices.
• how PIM practices change over time.
• how custom strategies develop.
• what parameters affect the evolution of
these practices, and in what way.
• Implications from ﬁndings will inform the
design of new tools & applications
• New devices designed to integrate better
into a user’s existing information
• A clearer understanding of users’
frustration at the current state-of-the-art in
• PIM is an interesting area in HCI where a
deeper understanding of users’ practices
would beneﬁt lots of users.
• Open questions in PIM research include
understanding how people use multiple
devices for information management & how
their strategies evolve over time.
• (Hopefully,) my work will help answer these
and design future devices and apps better.
Your feedback is appreciated!