HCI Seminar: Social Information Foraging and Sensemaking

Speaker: Dr. Peter Pirolli, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

Abstract: Information Foraging Theory is a theory of human-information interaction that aims to explain and predict how people will best shape themselves to their information environments, and how information environments can best be shaped to people.  The approach involves a kind of reverse engineering in which the analyst asks (a) what is the nature of the task and information environments, (b) why is a given system a good solution to the problem, and (c) how is that “ideal” solution realized (approximated) by mechanism. Typically, the key steps in developing a model of information foraging involve: (a) a rational analysis of the task and information environment (often drawing on optimal foraging theory from biology) and (b) a computational production system model of the cognitive structure of task. I will briefly review work on individual information seeking, and then focus on how this work is being expanded to studies of information production and sensemaking in technology-mediated social systems such as wikis, social tagging, social network sites, and twitter.

Bio: Dr. Pirolli is currently a research fellow in the Augmented Social Cognition Area at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where he has been pursuing studies of human information interaction since 1991. Before joining PARC, he was a professor in the School of Education at UC Berkeley. He received his doctorate in cognitive psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985. He received a B.Sc. in psychology and anthropology from Trent University. Dr. Pirolli has been elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science, the National Academy of Education, and the ACM Computer-Human Interaction Academy. Oxford University Press recently published his book titled, Information Foraging Theory: Adaptive Interaction with Information. He is also currently an associate editor for Human Computer Interaction. For more information, visit Dr. Pirolli's home page.


Room 2405 Siebel Center

Event Date: 

Mon, 05/03/2010 - 5:30pm


For disability-related accommodations, contact the event organizer or MT Hudson (217-333-0885, mthdson@illinois.edu).