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Towards a dynamic multiscale personal information space: Beyond application and document centered views of information

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


  • Amy Rae Fox, University of California
  • ,
  • Philip Guo, University of California
  • ,
  • Clemens Nylandsted Klokmose
  • Peter Dalsgaard
  • Arvind Satyanarayan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • ,
  • Haijun Xia, University of California
  • ,
  • James D. Hollan, University of California

The historical moment when a person worked in front of a single computer has passed. Computers are now ubiquitous and embedded in virtually every new device and system, connecting our personal and professional activities to ever-expanding information resources with previously unimaginable computational power. Yet with all the increases in capacity, speed, and connectivity, our experiences too often remain difficult, awkward, and frustrating. Even after six decades of design evolution there is little of the naturalness and contextual sensitivity required for convivial interaction with computer-mediated information. We envision a future in which the existing world of documents and applications is linked to a multiscale personalized information space in which dynamic visual entities behave in accordance with cognitively motivated rules sensitive to tasks, personal and group interaction histories, and context. The heart of the project is to rethink the nature of computer-mediated information as a basis to begin to fully realize the potential of computers to assist information-based activities. This requires challenging fundamental presuppositions that have led to today's walled gardens and information silos. Our goal is to catalyze an international research community to rethink the nature of information as a basis for radically advancing the human-centered design of information-based work and helping to ensure the future is one of convivial, effective, and humane systems. In this paper, we propose a new view of information systems, discuss cognitive requirements for a human-centered information space, and sketch a research agenda and approach.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgramming '20 : Conference Companion of the 4th International Conference on Art, Science, and Engineering of Programming
EditorsAdemar Aguiar, Shigeru Chiba, Elisa Gonzalez Boix
Number of pages8
Place of publicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication year2020
ISBN (Electronic)9781450375078
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event4th International Conference on Art, Science, and Engineering of Programming, Programming 2020 - Virtual, Online, Portugal
Duration: 23 Mar 202026 Mar 2020


Conference4th International Conference on Art, Science, and Engineering of Programming, Programming 2020
ByVirtual, Online
SponsorAOSA, City of Porto, University of Porto
SeriesACM International Conference Proceeding Series

    Research areas

  • activity history, co-adaptive systems, cognitive tools, distributed cognition, dynamic media, human computer interaction, information visualization, instrumental paradigm, Vega-Lite, Webstrates

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