HCIL Logo  Human-Computer Interaction Lab / University of Maryland
 about hcil 
HCIL Seminar Series

  Judith Donath
  Susan Dumais

  Matthew Ericson

  Monica Schraefel

Additional Talks

  Yaji Sripada

  Steven Landau

HCIL Seminar Series - Fall 2004

The purpose of the seminars is to help promote interdisciplinary discussion on topics relating to Human-Computer Interaction while facilitating communication between members of the HCI community.  There will be talks throughout the Fall.  

These lectures are free and open to the public.  No reservations are needed.

In addition to our seminar series, we are also hosting several other speakers this semester.

For questions or comments, contact HCIL information at  hcil-info@cs.umd.edu.

September 13, 2004, 4:00pm, A.V. Williams Building 3258

Yaji Sripada, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

Natural Language Generation of Textual Reports:  A Case Study with Scuba Dive Logs

September 21, 2004

Tuesday, 2:00pm, A.V. Williams Building 3258

Judith Donath
Judith Donath
Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
School: Sociable Media Group, MIT Media Lab
URL: http://www.media.mit.edu/~judith

Visualizing Email


The email archives that people accumulate are a dense, complex, and highly personal record of their past interactions. As email becomes increasingly ubiquitous, these include not only their work interactions, but also their relationships with family members, friends, doctors, teachers, etc. However, current mail clients do little to support these archives beyond providing a basic filing and searching system. Furthermore, most of the research that has been done to make these archives more accessible has focused on the data-mining aspect of the problem.  Yet personal email archives are valuable to their owner's not solely because of the useful information they contain; they are valuable because they are a record of relationships, of the energy put into ideas, of the rhythms of discussions and the arrival of new people. This talk will address approaches to visualizing email archives based on the social material they contain.


Judith Donath is an Assistant Professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she directs the Sociable Media research group. Her work focuses on the social side of computing, synthesizing knowledge from fields such as graphic design, urban studies and cognitive science to build innovative interfaces for online communities and virtual identities. She pioneered a number of social applications for the web, including the first postcard service ("The Electric Postcard"), the first interactive, juried art show ("Portraits in Cyberspace") and an early large-scale web event ("A Day in the Life of Cyberspace"). Recently, she directed "Id/Entity", an exhibit of collaboratively produced installations examining science and technology's transformation of the subject and form of portraiture. Her current research focuses on creating expressive visualizations of social interactions and on building experimental environments that mix real and virtual experiences. Professor Donath received her doctoral and master's degrees in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT, her bachelor's degree in History from Yale University, and has worked professionally as a designer and builder of educational software and experimental media.


October 21, 2004

Thursday, 2:00pm, A.V. Williams Building 2168

monica m.c. schraefel
Senior Lecturer
School of Electronics and Computer Science,

University of Southampton



Enabling Discovery of Rich Relationships

and Making Tea:
Two stories of interaction design and the semantic web.

Jointly hosted between HCIL and MIND Lab (Jim Hendler)


The Semantic Web provides mechanisms to improve web-based information sharing and discovery. Rather than a list of links from disparate sources, contexts can be constructed on demand so that users can see the information and their relationships with other
information. The first story of enabling discovery of rich relationships is about an interaction model called mSpace and the AKT project. Our two applications, CS AKTive Space (20million+ triples) and AKTivePhoto, provide an interface for heterogeneous
Semantic Web sources. mSpaces let users explore information from a point of interest, and then reorient the space to support that focus. The rapid response and visual presentation of context lets
users explore richly connected information. This enables rapid task completion, incidental learning, and effective reformulation of goals.

The second story, Making Tea, is situated in the eScience community of the UK. Here, the Semantic Web and Semantic Grid are enabling scientists to think about new models for sharing data and results beyond the traditional publication of papers. This new model is
called "publish@source" - supports immediate sharing of both the data and results. In order to get sharable results, however, the data itself must be available in digital form. This requirement
means a sea change in "wet lab" science: this story describes the process of moving analytical chemists from the paper lab book to an all-digital equivalent.


monica mc schraefel is a Senior Lecturer in the IAM Group, School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK. Prior to this, she was an Assistant Prof in the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, Canada; a researcher at AT&T
Research Labs in the Online Platform Research Group, New Jersey; and a faculty member in CS at the U of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada. From time to time, you could catch her with Her Very Hungry Band playing her own brand of folk funk. Papers, further project
descriptions and occasionally bits of tunes can be found at http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~mc.

October 26, 2004, 2:00pm, A.V. Williams Building 2120

Steven Landau, Tough Graphics, Inc.

Presenting Spatial Information Using Non-Visual Methods

November 8, 2004

Monday, 3:00pm, A.V. Williams Building 2120

Matthew Ericson
National Graphics Editor
The New York Times

 Visualizing Data for The Masses:
Information Graphics in The New York Times



How can information visualization be used to explain the news to a mass audience? Each day, The New York Times uses information graphics to present data, tell stories and make information more understandable for more than a million readers each day. Over the course of the 2004 presidential campaign, for example, graphics were used to explain the Democratic primary process, show which areas of the country were seeing political ads, illustrate which words and phrases were most used by speakers at the political conventions and track the race in the battleground states.

Producing graphics for a newspaper presents unique challenges: not only do graphic artists have to be knowledgeable on a wide range of topics, they also have deadlines that can be short as several hours. Learn some of the principles involved in designing information graphics: how to create charts and diagrams for readers not used to thinking viusally, how to organize graphics to increase their understanding, and how to convey information through typography and tone.

Presentation available for download: Part 1 (22.5MB) Part 2 (9.1MB) Part 3 (5.6MB)


Matthew Ericson is the national graphics editor at The New York Times, where he's produced graphics for stories ranging from the War in Iraq to G.I. Joe conventions to the 2004 presidential campaign. Prior to joining the Times in March 2003, he was a graphic artist and senior web site editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer.


November 16, 2004

Tuesday, 4:00pm, Computer Science Instructional Center 3117 (CSIC)

Susan Dumais
Susan Dumais
Senior Researcher
Adaptive Systems & Interaction Group, Microsoft Research


 Stuff I've Seen: Personal Information

Management and Use

Lecture also a part of the

Computer Science Department's Distinguished Colloquium Series


Most information retrieval technologies are designed to facilitate information discovery. However, much knowledge work involves finding and re-using previously seen information in the context of ongoing work activities. We have developed a prototype system called Stuff I've Seen (SIS) to support information re-use.  The system provides a unified index to information that a person has seen, regardless of whether the information was seen as an email, appointment, web page, document, hand-written note, etc.  Because the information has been seen before, rich contextual cues and visualizations (including timelines and memory landmarks) can be used to present search results. SIS also allows us to explore how information retrieval can be woven into work activities for improved query generation and results presentation.  SIS has been deployed internally to more than two thousand people.  We have studied its use using a variety of observational, questionnaire and laboratory studies.  Key finding include the importance of time and people as retrieval cues, and the importance of supporting highly iterative and interactive retrieval.  Alternative presentation techniques that leverage personal memory landmarks and contextual cues are promising alternatives to the long ranked lists that we are all familiar with.


Susan Dumais is a Senior Researcher in the Adaptive Systems and Interaction Group at Microsoft Research where she works on algorithms and interfaces for improved information access and management.  Prior to joining Microsoft Research in 1997, she was at Bellcore and Bell Labs for many years.  Her current research focuses on personal information retrieval, user modeling, text categorization, and collaborative information retrieval.  Previous research included well-known work on Latent Semantic Indexing (a statistical method for concept-based retrieval), combining search and navigation, individual differences, perceptual learning and attention, and organizational impacts of new technology.  Susan is Past-Chair of ACM's SIGIR group, and serves on the NRC Committee on Computing and Communications Research to Enable Better Use of Information Technology in Digital Government, and the NRC Board on Assessment of NIST Programs.  She is on the editorial boards of:  ACM:Transactions on Information Systems, ACM:Transactions on Human Computer Interaction, and 7 other journals.  She is an adjunct professor at the University of Washington in the Information School.