Readings' list

Jones, W., Phuwanartnurak, A. J., Gill, R., and Bruce, H. 2005. Don't take my folders away!: organizing personal information to get things done. In CHI '05 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Portland, OR, USA, April 02 - 07, 2005). CHI '05. ACM Press, New York, NY, 1505-1508.

Preliminary results of a study.

Study to see the role of folders: how do people organize project related information and how does this organization change over time?

14 participant: interview in their workspace. Questionnaire followed by  a guided tour of one of project of their choice.

Two questions at the end: Why did they created folders and what purpose created folders served. And if they could have a simple search, would they use the search instead of folder?


  1. Folders hierarchies are more than a means to an end. They are information on their own right. They represent an emerging understanding of the associated information items and their various relationship to one another.
  2. Folders frequently reflect a basic problem decomposition, or a plan for project completion.
  3. Information is often squeezed in folder even if it is not well represented in a single hierarchy.

To the hypothetical question about folder vs. search people said they would still use folder because:

Example of a wedding folder used to organize wedding.


  1. Non support for ordering: user has to use special name to enforce an order.
  2. tension between organization for current use and later reuse ??
  3. No support for reuse of structure: example course structure for a professor.

I question the validity of using hypothetical questions about search, but nonetheless this  gives insight on what people think about their folders.

I am wondering also about the choice of letting the user chose a project or folder to describe to the researcher.