Contextinator: Recreating the context lost amid information fragmentation on the web


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Virginia Tech


The web browser has emerged as a central workspace for information workers, where they make use of cloud-based applications to access their information. While this solution nicely supports access to their data from multiple devices, it presents a nightmare for organizing and coordinating data between tools for a single project. Information is typically scattered between various online tools, where storage and organization structures are replicated. Information workers are interrupted and have to switch between projects frequently. Once interrupted, resuming work on a project can be hard. To address this information fragmentation and the impact of work interruptions, I created Contextinator, a personal information manager for the web browser that lets information workers organize their work activity and information into projects. Contextinator assists in coordinating information for projects, thereby ameliorating information fragmentation for projects that live on the cloud. It assists information workers in context switching and resuming work after interruptions. In my the- sis, I describe the problem of information fragmentation in the cloud. I discuss the different areas of related work of Personal Information Management, the design of Contextinator and how it is grounded in previous research. I briefly discuss how Contextinator is implemented. I then present the results from my field-evaluation of Contextinator. Finally, I conclude by discussing future work in this research.



Information Fragmentation, Activity-based Computing, Personal Information Management, Contextinator