Marge Eldridge, Abi Sellen, Debra Bekerian
Xerox Techncial Report
The aim of a research project at EuroPARC called Activity-based Information Retrieval (AIR) is to use
technology to support human memory by increasing people's ability to recall or retrieve information relevant to
their daily lives. The essential idea of this project is to automatically collect contextual information about
human activities, and to use this contextual information to help the later recall of past activities. Although the
AIR project is interested in the support of memory in many areas of human activity, a major focus has been on
memory for work activities. Very little, if any, research has been done on how memory is used at work. Yet, if
we are to build effective technological support for the workplace, it is important to know what kinds of memory
problems people experience, how frequently different kinds of problems occur, and what kinds of consequences
these problems can have. The two studies reported in this paper provide some preliminary data on the range,
frequency and severity of various memory problems at work. The first study required people to write down their
memory problems as they occurred. The second study used a questionnaire which asked people to rate the
frequency and severity of various types of memory problems.
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