HCIR ’08: A Great Interaction!

I’m back from HCIR ’08 and pleased to report that it was a rousing success. We had about 40 attendees, including such HCIR luminaries as Gary Marchionini, Marti Hearst, and mc schraefel. Microsoft Research supplied us not only with space and great food, but also workshop co-chair Ryen White and keynote speaker Sue Dumais, not to mention distinguished attendees Ken Church and Ashok Chandra. With a group like that, it was clear we were in for a great workshop.

And a great workshop we had! Some highlights: 

  • Sue Dumais’s keynote on “Thinking Outside the (Search) Box” reviewed a variety of projects she and her colleagues at MSR have pursued in personal and personalized information retrieval.
  • Marti Hearst discussed design issues in faceted search interfaces, as well as extensions to the faceted model.
  • Steven Voida discussed a novel activitiy-based approach to personal information and task management.

At the beginning of the day, program chair Bill Kules had us write up our top HCIR concerns on post-it notes. We clustered these to form the basis for four breakout groups that discussed interactivity, task / workflow integration, sharing/collaboration, and results presentation. The results of these discussions, as well as the accepted papers, will be published online soon.

The workshop room also served as a space for posters. Posters were displayed throughout the day, and attendees congregated around posters and demos during the various breaks between sessions.

We concluded the workshop by soliciting feedback on how to improve it for next year. A fair number of attendees expressed interest in making the structure less formal, reducing the time spent on presentations and increasing the time available for more informal interaction. A number of folks expressed interest in continuing the discussions online, though there was no consensus on the best forum for doing so.

All in all, I was delighted by the energy of the group, and I believe that these workshops are helping to support HCIR efforts in both academia and industry.

Finally, I was delighted to recognize a number of Noisy Channel readers among the attendees. Conversely, Raman Chandrasekar was nice enough to (inadvertently) advertise this blog by leaving this screen up for a few minutes at the end of his presentation while he took Q&A:

I’ll keep folks here posted as more materials from the workshop become available. And, of course, you’ll be among the first to know where and when HCIR ’09 will take place.

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.