The Science Of Managing Our Digital Stuff

Hardcover | November 11, 2016

byOfer Bergman, Steve Whittaker

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Each of us has an ever-growing collection of personal digital data: documents, photographs, PowerPoint presentations, videos, music, emails and texts sent and received. To access any of this, we have to find it. The ease (or difficulty) of finding something depends on how we organize our digital stuff. In this book, personal information management (PIM) experts Ofer Bergman and Steve Whittaker explain why we organize our personal digital data the way we do and how the design of new PIM systems can help us manage our collections more efficiently.

Bergman and Whittaker report that many of us use hierarchical folders for our personal digital organizing. Critics of this method point out that information is hidden from sight in folders that are often within other folders so that we have to remember the exact location of information to access it. Because of this, information scientists suggest other methods: search, more flexible than navigating folders; tags, which allow multiple categorizations; and group information management. Yet Bergman and Whittaker have found in their pioneering PIM research that these other methods that work best for public information management don't work as well for personal information management.

Bergman and Whittaker describe personal information collection as curation: we preserve and organize this data to ensure our future access to it. Unlike other information management fields, in PIM the same user organizes and retrieves the information. After explaining the cognitive and psychological reasons that so many prefer folders, Bergman and Whittaker propose the user-subjective approach to PIM, which does not replace folder hierarchies but exploits these unique characteristics of PIM.

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From the Publisher

Each of us has an ever-growing collection of personal digital data: documents, photographs, PowerPoint presentations, videos, music, emails and texts sent and received. To access any of this, we have to find it. The ease (or difficulty) of finding something depends on how we organize our digital stuff. In this book, personal informatio...

Ofer Bergman is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Science at Bar-Ilan University. Steve Whitaker is Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:296 pages, 8 × 5.38 × 0.75 inPublished:November 11, 2016Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262035170

ISBN - 13:9780262035170

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Why aren't the information retrieval tools that have partly tamed content on the web equally effective in helping us manage the massive amounts of digital stuff we all have accumulated? Drawing from their own empirical research and fundamental principles of cognitive psychology, Bergman and Whittaker identify the way that our prior knowledge of the content and predictions about context of future use cause hierarchical folders to be both the preferred and most effective methods for managing our digital content. The deep, scientific base for their explanation and applications to new designs for personal information management makes this book stand out.