Exploring memory in email refinding

D. Elsweiler, M. Baillie, I. Ruthven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Human memory plays an important role in personal information management (PIM). Several scholars have noted that people refind information based on what they remember and it has been shown that people adapt their management strategies to compensate for the limitations of memory. Nevertheless, little is known about what people tend to remember about their personal information and how they use their memories to refind. The aim of this article is to increase our understanding of the role that memory plays in the process of refinding personal information. Concentrating on email re-finding, we report on a user study that investigates what attributes of email messages participants remember when trying to refind. We look at how the attributes change in different scenarios and examine the factors which impact on what is remembered.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21
Number of pages36
JournalACM Transactions on Information Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008


  • human factors
  • email refinding
  • information refinding
  • memory
  • user study


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