Archive for the 'References' Category

Participants’ personal note-taking in meetings and its value for automatic meeting summarisation

Bothin, A., and Clough, P. Participants’ personal note-taking in meetings and its value for automatic meeting summarisation. Information Technology and Management (December 2011), 1–19. [PDF]


This paper reports the results of a quantitative study on how people take notes in meetings. The goal of the authors was that of aiding the design of innovative applications to support work-related meetings.

Notes taken during meetings have a pivotal role in helping people understand what happened during the meeting and to recall important information or decisions that were shared during the gathering. Taking notes is usually a tedious activity and therefore lots of scholar have focused on work-related meetings, trying to come up with automatic solutions to summarize what happened during the interactions.

The paper reports interesting references to studies that demonstrate a relation between acoustic features (i.e., pitch, intensity, speaking speed, and pauses) of the recordings of the meetings and annotations created by participants (Arons, 1994; Kennedy & Ellis, 2003).

Also, some possible implications in the design of systems to support annotations: shared note-taking was investigated by Landay & Davis, 1999 and by Wolf et al., 1992. Finally, the possibility to suggest notes to participant was examined by Banarjee & Rudnicky, 2009.

The paper describes interesting related work on how people take notes for personal reasons. These notes are created in daily life meetings regardless of whether specific instructions to create summaries are given to participants. Note-taking mainly takes place tin order to create a personal record to aid remembering what was being discussed. Participants in meetings usually take notes of the most informative events. They contain “personally important” points and details on action items assigned to the note-taker. Most relevant references for these findings are the studies of Khan, 1992; Whittaker et al., 2005; and Wittaker et al., 2008.

These studies point out that during work meetings only salient and personally interesting points are recorded. The notes people generally take are short (i.s., 20-30 s long on average) [Khan, 1992]. These notes are likely to have predictive power for finding the most important parts of meetings.

The same authors examined the role of of individual differences in talking and note-taking activities in meetings (Bothin & Clough, 2010). Participants had different behaviour according to their gender, age, and native language. Women wrote more but men talked more within meetings. The older the participants were, the more they talked and noted. Native English speakers wrote more, but there was no significant difference in talking behavior.

In their experiment, Bothin & Clough examined the AMI corpus, involving 104 participants in total, and found that personal notes were generally short. Single items were around 8 seconds long on average (SD 3). They found a positive correlation between the total meeting length and the total number of the notes (r = 0.21), as well as the total meeting length and the total duration of the notes (r = 0.20). Perhaps people prefer to write down key words only [Khan, 1992] and every time something important to them occurs in the discussion.

Towards a smarter meeting record–capture and access of meetings revisited

Geyer, W., Richter, H., and Abowd, G. D. Towards a smarter meeting record–capture and access of meetings revisited. Multimedia Tools Appl. 27 (December 2005), 393–410. [URL]


This paper surveys and discusses various ways of indexing meeting records by categorizing existing approaches along multiple dimensions. The authors introduce the notion of creating indices based upon user interaction with domain-specific artifacts.

The paper contain a detailed literature review of previous studies of note taking behavior during and about meetings.

Filochat: handwritten notes provide access to recorded conversations

Whittaker, S., Hyland, P., and Wiley, M. Filochat: handwritten notes provide access to recorded conversations. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems: celebrating interdependence (New York, NY, USA, 1994), CHI ’94, ACM, pp. 271–277. [PDF]


This paper presents a study of how people take notes in meetings. The authors interviewed people who used audio recordings in offices to identify the main benefits and barriers they experienced. Later, they interviewed 28 non-users of audio recording devices about the way they took notes during meetings.

They found a need for supplementing handwritten meeting notes with a verbatim speech record of the conversation. On the basis of this, they built a prototype system that combined co-indexed handwritten notes and recorded audio in a digital notebook. They discussed perceived benefits of this technology.

In their literature review, they discuss some “speech-as-data” applications, such as the Voicenotes (Stifelman et al., 1993) and the Ubiquitous audio (Hindus & Schmandt, 1992). These applications allowed the organization of brief segments of personal audio such as “ideas” or “reminders”.


Social Computing by Tom Erickson

An autoritative overview of Social computing and its relation to social media:

As humans we are fundamentally social creatures. For most people an ordinary day is filled with social interaction. We converse with our family and friends. We talk with our co-workers as we carry out our work. We engage in routine exchanges with familiar strangers at the bus stop and in the grocery store. This social interaction is not just talk: we make eye contact, nod our heads, wave our hands, and adjust our positions. Not only are we busy interacting, we are also remarkably sensitive to the behaviors of those around us. Our world is filled with social cues that provide grist for inferences, planning and action. We grow curious about a crowd that has gathered down the street. We decide not to stop at the store because the parking lot is jammed. We join in a standing ovation even though we didn’t enjoy the performance that much. Social interactions like these contribute to the meaning, interest and richness of our daily life.

More: interviews with Tom Erickson


Erickson, Thomas (2011): Social Computing. In: Soegaard, Mads and Dam, Rikke Friis (eds.). “Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction”. Available online at

Rhythms and plasticity: television temporality at home

Irani, L., Jeffries, R., and Knight, A. Rhythms and plasticity: television temporality at home. Personal Ubiquitous Comput. 14 (October 2010), 621–632. [PDF]


This work focuses on new temporalities of media consumption in the home as enabled by new media technologies. The authors conducted in-home interviews and diary study with 14 households over two weeks. They found many instances of the classic image of television temporality, namely families relaxing together in front of the television. They also found examples of time-shifting to adjust broadcasts to fit one’s agenda. However, they also found a range of complex temporal patterns that sit between these two extremes.

They found many instances of rhythmic television watching. These are subject to change and are negociated. When made visibles these are a source for social coordination. DVR technologies allowed people flexibility in the times they watched television.

They found that rhythms might span across households. However, while most of the previous literature focused on the synchronous nature of these social events, they found instances of watching television independently at individually convenient times that still sustained the rhythm of the collective discussion experiences.

They also found accounts of “plastic” television watching. Plastic time activities are the variable, ad hoc time that fits between or along with other activities. On Demoand cable television allowed users to browse lists of shows, find one that fit into one’s anticipated amount of time, and immediately begin watching. This kind of television would also allow users to skip not relevant or interesting content or to watch more episodes of a series of interest.

The study concludes with interesting and relevant design implications:

1) the design and support of temporal awareness may support the sociality of television. Design that support asymnchronous sociality might also support some users keep up with television shows.

2) on demand TV might support plastic time by having a selection of very short video segments;

3) recommender systems would benefit from sense of timing and social awareness and realizing that timing might be as important as the stories or genres presented.

An examination of daily information needs and sharing opportunities

Dearman, D., Kellar, M., and Truong, K. N. An examination of daily information needs and sharing opportunities. In Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work (New York, NY, USA, 2008), CSCW ’08, ACM, pp. 679–688. [PDF]


The main argument of this work is that context-sensitive information needs can be supported by individuals in the social network. The authors support the idea that many contextual needs require specialized knowledge that is often not available on the Internet.

Under this assumption they conducted a 4-weeks diary study in which a diverse group of participants recorded the information they needed or that they wanted to share. They collected 1290 entries that were analyzed using grounded theory affinity analysis. They grouped the needs into 9 main categories with relative subcategories. Participants were able to satisfy their needs 45.3% of the time. Participants satisfied their information need by asking someone, going to a location where the information was available, look the answer on the web and user other methods suchg as the GPS, paper documents, trial and error and other media.

By looking qualitatively at the answers they observed some interesting facts: The timeliness of the information was a key factor and also the trust relationship with the source of the answer was an higly quoted variable that participants took into account.

Information needs and practices of active mobile internet users

Heimonen, T. Information needs and practices of active mobile internet users. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Mobile Technology, Application & Systems (New York, NY, USA, 2009), Mobility ’09, ACM, pp. 50:1–50:8. [PDF]


The authors of this paper looked at the effect of dataplan on smartphones have on mobile information needs and poractices. The authors used a diary study with 8 participants over the course of two weeks. Participants were filling a web form where they were asked to answer a certain number of questions (where / when / what / how / did you find what you were looking for?). They used a strict definition of information needs: need for a piece of informationthat you cannot recall from memory or that is not immediately available to you and that you would likely spend few minutes attempting to solve it while mobile.

They classified with simple coding the information needs into 15 topical categories. They divided the needs into utilitarian (pragmatic) and hedonic (entertainment). Most of the needs, 45%, were addressed immediately. The majority of the users answered the needs through web search. Interestingly, they also found that the contributing reasonto the information need is not easily attributable to any environmental factor (33% of the times).

The paper also presents some nice implications for design, such as the use of communal knowledge to solve mobile search needs. Also, they suggested several techniques to take advantage of the user’s interaction to predict mobile information needs.

Context-aware computing applications

B. Schilit, N. Adams, and R. Want, “Context-aware computing applications,” in WMCSA ’94: Proceedings of the 1994 First Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications, (Washington, DC, USA), pp. 85–90, IEEE Computer Society, 1994. [PDF]


This paper describes software that reacts to an individual’s changing context. According to the authors, three important aspects of context are: where you are, who you are with, and what resources are nearby. Context includes different aspects of the physical environment around the user.

To investigate these topics they developed ParcTab, a small hand-held devices that uses infrared based cellular network for communication. The Tab acts as a graphics terminal and most of applications run on remote hosts.

Using this experimental environment, they describe four interaction mechanism:

  1. Proximate Selection, the located-objects that are nearby are emphasized or otherwise made easier to choose.
  2. Automatic Contextual Reconfiguration is the process of adding new components, removing existing components or altering the connections between components.
  3. Contextual Information and Commands happens when contextual information can produce different results accodring to the context in which they are issued.
  4. Context-Triggered Actions are sets of rules that specify how contex-aware systems should adapt.


An operational definition of context

A. Zimmermann, A. Lorenz, and R. Oppermann, “An operational definition of context,” in CONTEXT’07: Proceedings of the 6th international and interdisciplinary conference on Modeling and using context, (Berlin, Heidelberg), pp. 558–571, Springer-Verlag, 2007. [PDF]


This paper presents a summary of theoretical definitions of context that were developed in the past in the field of computer science. The authors’ argument presented in the paper is that most of the definitions that were proposed in the past were indirect definitions that used synonyms or that were either too general or incomplete.

By summarizing previous work, the authors presented an operational definition of context that could be used to characterize the situation of anentity. According to the authors, elements for the description of this context information fall into five categories:

  1. individuality
  2. activity
  3. location
  4. time
  5. relations

Also, according to the authors something is context because of the way it is used in interpretation, not due to its inherent properties. When interacting and communicating in everyday life, the perception of situations, as well as the interpretation of the context is a major part. Therefore, the author presents some operational additive to the general definition: context transitions, variation of approximation, change of focus, shift of attention, shared contexts, the establishment of relations, the adjustment of shared contexts, and the exploiting of relationships.


Toward a multidisciplinary model of context to support context-aware computing

N. A. Bradley and M. D. Dunlop, “Toward a multidisciplinary model of context to support context-aware computing,” Hum.-Comput. Interact., vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 403–446, 2005. [PDF]


This paper presents a comprehensive literature review of multidisciplinary research on context. The primary aim of the authors was that of reviewing and merging theories of context within linguistic, computer science, and psychology to propose a multidisciplinary model of context that would facilitare application developers.

The authors find out that contextual interactions appered to comprise the cross-disciplinary component for understanding and using principles of context. From a liguistic perspective it is the interaction between two people, within computer science it is the user-application interaction (combined with possible interactions with other people and objects=, and within psychology it is the internal and external interactions. Last, contextual interactions should be considered also though the notion of embodiment, as described by Dourish (2001).

A Theory of Human Motivation

Maslow, A. H. A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396. 1943. [HTML]


This is a seminal paper by which Maslow first introduced the hierarchy of human needs. While reading the paper I highlighted a couple of interesting ideas:

- Any motivated behavior must be understood to be a channel through which many basic needs maby be expressed or satisfied.

- Classification of motivations myst ve based upon goals rather than upon istigating;

- Motivations are only one class of determinants of behavior. While behavior is almost always motivated, it is amolst always biologically, culturally and situationally determined as well.

- the present theory should be considered as a program for future research;

- a cause for reversal of the hierarchy is that when a need has been satisfied for a long time this need might become underevaluated.

- another partial eplanation of apparent reversals is seen in the fact that there are many determinant in behavior other than the need and desires (e.g. marthyrs).

- most members ofour society who are normal are partially satisfied in all their basic need and partially unsatisfied in all their basic needs ate the same time.

- our needs emerge only when more prepotent needs have been gratified. When a need is faily well satisfied the next prepotent (‘higher’) need emerge, in turn to dominate the conscious life and to serve as the center of organization of behavior, since gratified needs are not active motivators.

[a more extensive review here]

User needs for location-aware mobile services

Kaasinen, E. User needs for location-aware mobile services. Personal Ubiquitous Comput. volume 7, number 1, pp. 70-79. 2003. [PDF]


This paper present a qualitative study of mobile services that could be enhanced with location-aware features thus providing the user’s point of view. The authors conducted interviews with 13 evaluation groups with a total of 55 persons of different ages, genders, ans socio-economic status. To guide the interactions, they provided participants with structured scenarios and prototypes that they had to test. Also, they conducted interviews with experts during a conference.

The paper draws conclusion about key issues related to users’ needs. Topical information, the kind of information that might change while the user is on the mobe, turned out to be important to the user (e.g., weather forecast, train schedule). They also identified the push vs pull modality of delivery information to the user as being one of the possible issued with designing these kind of services. Users declared the need of having detailed search options, the ability of personalizing the interaction with the service and that of contributing to the system providing data. Also, they discussed the need of giving the ability to the user to override the recommendations of the system (e.g., exporatory search). Privacy was also mentioned.

Understanding and Using Context

Dey, A. Understanding and Using Context. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 5, No. 1. (20 February 2001), pp. 4-7. [PDF]


This work builds on previous studies of contextual applications and proposes to define what context is a what context-aware applications are. The author refer to the work of Schilit and Theimer (1994) where context is referred to as location, identities of nearby people and objects, and changes to those objects. A later definition of Schilit , Adams, and Want (1994) and the definition of Pascoe (1998) defines the important aspects of context, which are: where you are, who you are with, and what resources are nearby.

The author consider these definitions as too generic and presents his own: “Context is any information that can be used to characterise the situation of an entity, place, or object that is considered relevant to the interaction between a user and an application, including the user and applications themselves.

Subsequently, the author defines context-aware applications as: “A system is context-aware if it uses context to provide relevant information and/or services to the user, where relevancy depends on the user’s task.” According to the author, there are three categories of features that a context aware application can support: a) presentation of information and services to a user; b) automatic execution of a service for a user; c) tagging of context to information to support later retrieval.

As a last contribution, the paper introduces the situation abstraction, which is an aggregated description of the states of relevant entities.

Understanding mobile contexts

S. Tamminen, A. Oulasvirta, K. Toiskallio, and A. Kankainen, “Understanding mobile contexts,” Personal Ubiquitous Comput., no. 8, pp. 135–143, 2004. [PDF]


This paper describes an ethmomethodologically inspired study of 25 participants in Helsinki. The authors were interested in understanding the challenges that ubiquitous computing has to face because of the changing context of the user. The authors wrote their implications thinking about phisical devices mor than thinking about services.

Starting from the definition of context in the HCI field, the authors describe how scholars did not agree on a single definition of context. Their starting point was that contexts are always determined by their specific use situations in relation with the motives, plans, other poeple, mobile computers, and the like. They believe that by explicating the actions and resources by which people go about, they can gain insight on how mobile contexts get done and the extent by which these can be modeled and recognized by ubiquitous devices. The authors organized a group of 25 participants that they shadowed and interviewed during the course of 3 days.

Their storyline was divided into travel episodes consisting of temporally organized action patterns depicting a meaningul journey between two places. A special emphasis was given to finding nodal events, where an action transformed the present context into another recognizable context (e.g., reading the newspaper on the metro).

They describe 5 characteristics of mobile contexts: 1) situational acts within planned ones, actions performed in ad-hoc manner during the journey. Plans do not simply determine action (Suchman). 2) claiming personal an group spaces, users create space around themselves for the actions they are about to take. 3) social solutions to problem sin navigation, seeking help through the social channel. 4) temporal tensions, situations where time becomes problematic in relation to the action at hand and where, at the same time, the temporal aspect of a situation is actively used to orient action. 5) multitasking, social conventions might reduce some cognitive load.

Books with voices: paper transcripts as a physical interface to oral histories

S. R. Klemmer, J. Graham, G. J. Wolff, and J. A. Landay, “Books with voices: paper transcripts as a physical interface to oral histories,” in CHI ’03: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, (New York, NY, USA), pp. 89–96, ACM, 2003. [PDF]


This paper describes Books with Voices, an enhacement of paper transcripts enabling random access to digital video interviews on a PDA. Historians collect a huge amount of audio interviews that later are transcribed. However, the audio recording preserves some value as the original voice of the interviewee, the intonation of the words, etc. Unfortunately, because this material is mostly undedited and difficult to find, the textual trasncripts are the preferred source of infromation. Therefore, the authors proposed a prototype that could help relate a certain textual transcript to the original audio souce.

They performed a qualitative evaluation of the prototype with 13 participants. The video helped readers clarify the text and observe non-verbal cues.

The paper contains also a thorough literature review on the subject.