SenseMaker: An Information-Exploration Interface

Michelle Wang Baldonado, Stanford Computer Science (Digital Library Project)

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University April 25, 1997


SenseMaker is an interface for exploring information from multiple, heterogeneous sources. Information exploration takes place when a user is looking for new information within a defined conceptual area. This overarching area could be at any level of granularity. It could be as broad as "software design" or as narrow as "the VisiCalc interface." An important characteristic of information exploration is that the user's interests evolve during the course of the task.

In this talk, I will describe how SenseMaker supports this contextual evolution of a user's interests by: (1) approximating the current information context as the current collection of accumulated information references, and (2) providing a unified set of user-centered actions for examining the current context, for progressing from one context to the next, and for returning to previous contexts.


Michelle Baldonado is completing her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Stanford University. Her dissertation is on examining and exploring multi-dimensional information in a heterogeneous, distributed environment. She built SenseMaker in order to experiment with these ideas. Her current research interests also include metadata architectures and document versioning. Before coming to Stanford, Michelle did research in computational linguistics as an undergraduate at Harvard University and research in speech processing as a master's student at Cambridge University.


Titles and abstracts for all years are available by year and by speaker.

For more information about HCI at Stanford see

Overview Degrees Courses Research Faculty FAQ