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Towards task-based personal information management evaluations

Elsweiler, David and Ruthven, Ian (2007) Towards task-based personal information management evaluations. In: Proceedings of the 30th Annual International ACM SIGIR conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval. ACM, New York, pp. 1-8. ISBN 9781595935977

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Abstract

Personal Information Management (PIM) is a rapidly growing area of research concerned with how people store, manage and re-find information. A feature of PIM research is that many systems have been designed to assist users manage and re-find information, but very few have been evaluated.This has been noted by several scholars and explained by the difficulties involved in performing PIM evaluations.The difficulties include that people re-find information from within unique personal collections; researchers know little about the tasks that cause people to re-find information; and numerous privacy issues concerning personal information. In this paper we aim to facilitate PIM evaluations by addressing each of these difficulties. In the first part, we present a diary study of information re-finding tasks. The study examines the kind of tasks that require users to re-find information and produces a taxonomy of re-finding tasks for email messages and web pages. In the second part, we propose a task-based evaluation methodology based on our findings and examine the feasibility of the approach using two different methods of task creation.