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Introduction to this special issue on sensemaking


This special issue on sensemaking brings together articles representing some of the significant paths taken by HCI sensemaking research since the 1990s. One thrust is the continued development of rich interaction techniques and tools to support users’ ability to create and shape external representations of knowledge that ultimately support more effective situation awareness and understanding. Another is the rise of increasingly social or collaborative sensemaking systems. This special issue originated in a workshop held at the Computer–Human Interaction Conference in 2008, which recognized the growing problem of understanding too much information.

The issue includes:

Resolving safety-critical incidents in a rally control center by M. Wahlström, A. Salovaara, L. Salo and A. Oulasvirta;

Making sense of digital footprints in team-based legal investigations: the acquisition of focus by S. Attfield and A. Blandford;

Sensemaking in collaborative web search by Sharoda A Paul and Meredith Ringel Morris;

Self-directed learning and the sensemaking paradox by K. R. Butcher and T. Sumner.


Pirolli, P. L.; Russell, D. M. Introduction to this special issue on sensemaking. Human-Computer Interaction. 2011 January - June; 26 (1-2): 1-8.