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Information foraging theory
Conferences & Talks

Stanford Seminar on People, Computers, and Design

24 October 2008
Palo Alto, California, USA



Information Foraging Theory is a theory of human-information interaction that aims to explain and predict how people will best shape themselves to their information environments, and how information environments can best be shaped to people. The approach involves a kind of reverse engineering in which the analyst asks (a) what is the nature of the task and information environments, (b) why is a given system a good solution to the problem, and (c) how is that “ideal” solution realized (approximated) by mechanism. Typically, the key steps in developing a model of information foraging involve: (a) a rational analysis of the task and information environment (often drawing on optimal foraging theory from biology) and (b) a computational production system model of the cognitive structure of task. This talk will provide a survey of models and applications developed within the theory, including recent models of Web surfing, exploratory search, and interaction with information visualizations, as well as outlines of extension of the theory to social information foraging.