The University of Illinois at Chicago

Department of Computer Science

2006-2007 Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series

Information Retrieval in Context

Susan Dumais
Microsoft Research
Thursday, March 22, 2007

11:00 a.m., Room 1000 SEO


Most information retrieval technologies are designed to facilitate information discovery. However, much knowledge work involves finding and re-using previously seen information in the context of ongoing work activities. An overview of techniques that people currently use to support re-access will be presented, and usage experiences with the "Stuff I've Seen" desktop search prototype that provides unified access to a wide range of heterogeneous information that a person has previously encountered (email, web pages, files, news, appointments) will be summarized. Key finding include the importance of time and people as retrieval cues, and the importance of metadata in supporting interactive retrieval. Alternative presentation techniques that leverage rich contextual cues such as timelines and memory landmarks are promising alternatives to long ranked lists of search results. Richer personalized information retrieval capabilities can also be supported using this infrastructure since it provides a very rich client-side representation of a user's interests and their evolution over time.

Breif Bio:

Susan Dumais is a Senior Researcher in the Adaptive Systems and Interaction Group at Microsoft Research. She has been at Microsoft Research since 1997 and has published widely in the areas of human-computer interaction and information retrieval. Her current research focuses on personal information management, user modeling and personalization, novel interfaces for interactive retrieval, and implicit measures of user interest and activity. She has worked closely with several Microsoft groups (Windows Desktop Search, MSN Search, SharePoint Portal Server and Office Help) on search-related innovations. Prior to joining Microsoft Research, she was at Bellcore and Bell Labs for many years, where she worked on Latent Semantic Indexing (a statistical method for concept-based retrieval), combining search and navigation, individual differences, and organizational impacts of new technology.

Susan has published more than 170 articles in the fields of information science, human-computer interaction, and cognitive science, and holds several patents on novel retrieval algorithms and interfaces. She is Past-Chair of ACM's Special Interest Group in Information Retrieval (SIGIR), and served on the NRC Committee on Computing and Communications Research to Enable Better Use of Information Technology in Digital Government, and the NRC Board on Assessment of NIST Programs. She is on the editorial boards of /ACM: Transactions on Information Systems, ACM: Transactions on Human Computer Interaction, Human Computer Interaction, Information Processing and Management, Information Retrieval, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, and the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology/, an associate editor for the first and second editions of the /Handbook of Applied Cognition/, and on program committees for several conferences. She was elected to the CHI Academy in 2004. Susan is an adjunct professor in the Information School at the University of Washington, and has been a visiting faculty member at Stevens Institute of Technology, New York University, and the University of Chicago.

Host: Professor Isabel Cruz

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