On Understanding the Relationship Between Recollection and Refinding

David Elsweiler, Mark Baillie, Ian Ruthven

Abstract


Memory has long since been acknowledged to be important to the processes involved in Personal Information Management, especially to re-finding previously accessed information. Nevertheless, relatively little is known about the role that memory plays in these processes or how the user's recollections should be supported. Focusing, on email re-finding, this article investigates the relationship between recollection and information re-finding performance. A study is presented that examines the attributes participants remembered about email messages they were asked to re-find. The recollections are analysed statistically to learn if they influenced the participants' re-finding performance. We discover that a relationship exists, although it is more complicated than researchers have previously suggested, and that specific attributes appear to influence the performance when they are remembered. We discuss our findings with respect to past and future work and also to the design of new re-finding tools.

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