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Publications

iPad in Education A case study of iPad adoption and use in a primary school

Sarah Henderson and Jeff Yeow
HICSS 452012

Apple’s iPad has attracted a lot of attention since its release in 2010 and one area in which it has been adopted is the education sector. The iPad’s large multi-touch screen, sleek profile and the ability to easily download and purchase a huge variety of educational applications make it attractive to educators.

This paper presents a case study of the iPad’s adoption in a primary school, one of the first in the world to adopt it. From interviews with teachers and IT staff, we conclude that the iPad’s main strengths are the way in which it provides quick and easy access to information for students and the support it provides for collaboration. However, staff need to carefully manage both the teaching and the administrative environment in which the iPad is used, and we provide some lessons learned that can help other schools considering adopting the iPad in the classroom.

Filing, Piling & Structuring Strategies for Personal Document Management

Sarah Henderson and Ananth Srinivasan
HICSS 442011

Personal digital document management describes the activities performed by an individual in creating, acquiring, organizing and maintaining collections of their documents. The abundance of digital information that knowledge workers today must manage means that providing useful and usable tools to organize and handle this complexity is more important than ever. In order to better understand the differing approaches people take to document management, a study was conducted involving a combination of in-depth interviews and a survey. Qualitative analysis of the data from the interviews and quantitative analysis of the data from 72 survey participants were used together to develop a description of three major approaches to personal document management: a piling strategy, a filing strategy and a structuring strategy. Understanding of these three strategies can be used to inform the development of better tools to support document management.

Document Duplication How Users (Struggle to) Manage File Copies and Versions

Sarah Henderson
ASIS&T2011

In personal document management, a common problem for users is handling file and folder duplication. Duplicates can be created deliberately (e.g. creating different versions of a document to preserve a history) or inadvertently (e.g. copying a file to a USB drive and then back to a different location). Users must spend time and effort to consciously and manually manage this duplication, or they run the risk of losing or overwriting data. This study of 73 knowledge workers combines a snapshot of their file system with a questionnaire about their document management practices in order to understand their document management structures, strategies and struggles. We find that current personal document management systems (i.e. the file systems built into modern Operating Systems) do not provide adequate support for managing file duplication. We explore the systems that users have developed to work around this deficiency and suggest some guidelines for the design of more effective document management systems.

Filing, Piling & Structuring Guidelines for the Design of Personal Document Management User Interfaces

Sarah Henderson
Personal Information Management Workshop at ASIS&T2009

Personal document management describes the activities performed by an individual in creating, acquiring, organizing and maintaining collections of their documents. A study involving 10 in-depth interviews and a survey of 115 participants was conducted in order to better understand the approaches people take to document management in order to inform the development of better user interfaces. These were used to develop an understanding of issues and concepts in personal document management, and a description of three major approaches to personal document management: a piling strategy, a filing strategy and a structuring strategy. From the findings, some general guidelines are proposed for the development of personal document management user interfaces, along with specific user interface guideline to support each of the three identified approaches to personal document management.

How Do People Manage Their Documents?

Sarah Henderson
University of Auckland Doctoral Thesis2009

An Empirical Investigation Into Personal Document Management Practices Among Knowledge Workers

Personal document management is the activity of managing a collection of digital documents performed by the owner of the documents, and consists of creation/acquisition, organisation, finding and maintenance. Document management is a pervasive aspect of digital work, but has received relatively little attention from researchers. The hierarchical file system used by most people to manage their documents has not conceptually changed in decades. Although revolutionary prototypes have been developed, these have not been grounded in a thorough understanding of document management behaviour and therefore have not resulted in significant changes to document management interfaces.

Improvements in understanding document management can result in productivity gains for knowledge workers, and since document management is such a common activity, small improvements can deliver large gains. The aim of this research was to understand how people manage their personal document collections and to develop guidelines for the development of tools to support personal document management.

A field study was conducted that included interviews, a survey and file system snapshot. The interviews were conducted with ten participants to investigate their document management strategies, structures and struggles. In addition to qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews, a novel investigation technique was developed in the form of a file system snapshot which collects information about document structures and derives a number of metrics which describe the document structure. A survey was also conducted, consisting of a questionnaire and a file system snapshot, which enabled the findings of the field study to be validated, and to collect information from a greater number of participants.

The results of this research culminated in (1) development of a conceptual framework highlighting the key personal document management attitudes, behaviours and concerns; (2) model of basic operations that any document management system needs to provide; (3) identification of piling, filing and structuring as three key document management strategies; (4) guidelines for the development of user interfaces to support document management, including specific guidelines for each document management strategy. These contributions both improve knowledge of personal document management on which future research can build, and provide practical advice to document management system designers which should result in the development of more usable system.

Personal document management is the activity of managing a collection of digital documents performed by the owner of the documents, and consists of creation/acquisition, organisation, finding and maintenance. Document management is a pervasive aspect of digital work, but has received relatively little attention from researchers. The hierarchical file system used by most people to manage their documents has not conceptually changed in decades. Although revolutionary prototypes have been developed, these have not been grounded in a thorough understanding of document management behaviour and therefore have not resulted in significant changes to document management interfaces.

Improvements in understanding document management can result in productivity gains for knowledge workers, and since document management is such a common activity, small improvements can deliver large gains. The aim of this research was to understand how people manage their personal document collections and to develop guidelines for the development of tools to support personal document management.

A field study was conducted that included interviews, a survey and file system snapshot. The interviews were conducted with ten participants to investigate their document management strategies, structures and struggles. In addition to qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews, a novel investigation technique was developed in the form of a file system snapshot which collects information about document structures and derives a number of metrics which describe the document structure. A survey was also conducted, consisting of a questionnaire and a file system snapshot, which enabled the findings of the field study to be validated, and to collect information from a greater number of participants.

The results of this research culminated in (1) development of a conceptual framework highlighting the key personal document management attitudes, behaviours and concerns; (2) model of basic operations that any document management system needs to provide; (3) identification of piling, filing and structuring as three key document management strategies; (4) guidelines for the development of user interfaces to support document management, including specific guidelines for each document management strategy. These contributions both improve knowledge of personal document management on which future research can build, and provide practical advice to document management system designers which should result in the development of more usable system.

Personal Document Management Strategies

Sarah Henderson
CHINZ2009

Personal document management describes the activities performed by an individual in creating, acquiring, organizing and maintaining collections of their documents. A study involving field studies and a survey of 115 participants was conducted in order to better understand the approaches people take to document management. Qualitative analysis of a field study and quantitative analysis of a survey were used together to develop a description of three major approaches to personal document management: a piling strategy, a filing strategy and a structuring strategy. A user persona was developed to exemplify each strategy; this persona description can be used as a design tool to guide the development of user interfaces for personal document management system. Specific user interface guidelines are suggested to support each of the three identified strategies.

An Empirical Analysis of Personal Digital Document Structures

Sarah Henderson and Ananth Srinivasan
HCI International2009

Hierarchies have long been used as useful structuring mechanisms for organizing and managing documents. This study looks at the problem of personal digital document management in the context of knowledge workers. We study and document strategies that users employ to manage the complexity imposed by the volume and variety of personal digital documents. Exploratory research was conducted, analyzing the file systems of 73 knowledge workers using Microsoft Windows in a university setting. The empirical results of this are presented, and compared to a previous study that examined the file systems of 11 users.

Genre, Task, Topic and Time

Sarah Henderson
CHINZ2005

Most operating systems provide the ability to create folders to contain documents, and to nest these folders to create a hierarchical organization. However, little is known about the kinds of folders people create using this type of organizing scheme, or how they structure those folders.

Exploratory research was conducted, analyzing the folder structures of six knowledge workers and it was found that most folder names represent the genre, task, topic or time dimension of the documents they contained. While these four dimensions were consistent across all participants, the order in which these dimensions are combined into a hierarchical structure varies substantially, even among people with the same job.

A number of interesting areas of investigation are highlighted for future research, including a proposal that these dimensions be treated as facets of document metadata and that exploring faceted navigation interfaces for personal digital document management would be a fruitful area for further research.

Personal Digital Document Management

Sarah Henderson
APCHI Doctoral Consortium2004

Knowledge workers today have a lot of digital documents to manage, and most employ some sort of organizational system or scheme to help them. Most commonly used software provides the ability to create a hierarchical organization, but the appropriateness of this structure for personal digital document management has not been established. This research aims to understand how people currently organize their documents, identify the strengths and weaknesses of current systems and explore the usefulness of other information structures. This will provide insight into how personal digital document management systems can be made more usable.

How Do People Organize Their Desktops?

Sarah Henderson
CHI Doctoral Consortium2004

Knowledge workers today have a lot of digital documents to manage, and most employ some sort of organizational system or scheme to help them. Most commonly used software provides the ability to create a hierarchical organization, but the appropriateness of this structure for personal digital document management has not been established. This research aims to understand how people currently organize their documents, identify the strengths and weaknesses of current systems and explore the usefulness of other information structures. This should provide insight into how personal digital document management systems can be made more usable.