Readings' list

Nardi, B. and Barreau, D. 1997. “Finding and reminding” revisited: appropriate metaphors for file organization at the desktop. SIGCHI Bull. 29, 1 (Jan. 1997), 76-78.


This paper is an answer to Fertig's at al (1996) paper.

The authors restate that their studies suggests the major information management problem facing most individual today is the volume and variety of ephemeral information.
An electronic file system is a place to store things, but also a space upon which people inscribe things they want to be reminded of. The use of spatial cues to manage this important process extend from the physical world of paper office to the virtual space of the electronic desktop.

User Preference for Location-Based Search

Our observation suggests that workers have spatial perceptions about their work space and about how information is organized within it. Workers have a sense of control over the environment and confidence that they can find what they need with minimal effort.

Location of Files Serves a Critical Reminding Function

Users often places files where they could serve a reminding function. Even if this doesn't assure they will be reminded, they do tat.

We are less likely to overlook these location reminders, when they are part of a normal routine. The study showed tat secretary routinely check a part of the desktop.

Users avoid elaborate filing schemes and Archive Relatively Few Documents

The study focuses on user in working environment. Archival was much less important.

Organizing documents involve too much overhead.

"old" and "archival" information are different: old information that the user needs may be kept in the working environment.

Archival information may be at institutional level instead of individual level.


The variety of documents in our systems cannot be easily characterized, ordered, and retrieved based upon some common characteristics. Location-based search may have limitation but so do systems that rely on automatic characterization or full text retrieval.

Location based search was also present in paper offices. The study showed that archival info was not necessary. If the authors of the other paper think that new tools will make archival useful, and that users will prefer search to location they'll have to show it.