UCD SILS Talk by Professor Gloria Mark (12-1PM September 13th): Multi-tasking in the Digital Information Age

22 Aug 2012 - 1:20pm
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Hi all,

Professor Gloria Mark from the University of California, Irvine will be giving a talk on multi-tasking in the School of Information and Library Studies (SILS) at University College Dublin (UCD). The talk will be on September 13th from 12-1PM and will held in SILS 107. SILS is located upstairs on the right of the UCD campus book store.

I've known Gloria for a long time and she's an exciting speaker who always critically examines topics that we can all relate to. Her work on multitasking may be of interest to designers. I'd encourage you all to attend her talk! If you have any questions about the talk, feel free to contact me! Talk details are below. Please disseminate widely!


Norman Makoto Su
Postdoctoral Fellow
School of Information & Library Studies
University College Dublin
work: +353 1 716-7660


Multi-tasking in the Digital Information Age: 

Tasks, Information, and Interaction Contexts

Gloria Mark

University of California, Irvine



Multi-tasking is a way of life for information workers.  In this talk I will present a set of empirical results from fieldwork observations and experiments which detail the extent to which information workers multitask with digital data and will discuss how multi-tasking impacts various aspects of collaboration and communication in the workplace. Multi-tasking changes with collocation, gender, and interruptions. I will report how people compensate for interruptions by working faster, but this comes at a cost of experiencing higher stress. I will also report on a recent study where we cut off email of people in an organization for one week to understand how email affects multitiasking behavior. We found that without email in the workplace, people multitasked less and experienced lower stress. These results challenge the traditional way that most IT is designed to organize information, i.e. in terms of distinct tasks. Instead, I will discuss how IT should support information organization in a way consistent with how most people were found to organize their work, which is in terms of working spheres, thematically connected units of work. I will also discuss how the results present opportunities for new social and technical solutions to support multi-tasking in the workplace.



Gloria Mark is a Professor in the Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine. Her principle research areas are in human-computer interaction and computer-supported cooperative work. Her research focuses on the design and evaluation of collaborative systems. Her current projects include studying multi-tasking of information workers, IT use for resilience in disrupted environments, and Big Data analytics. She received her PhD in Psychology from Columbia University. Prior to joining UCI in 2000, she worked at the German National Research Center for Information Technology in Bonn, Germany (now Fraunhofer Institute). In 2006 she received a Fulbright scholarship where she worked at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. She has been the technical program chair for the ACM CSCW’12, ACM CSCW'06 and ACM GROUP’05 conferences, and is on the editorial board of ACM TOCHI and Human-Computer Interaction. She is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications and her work has also appeared in the popular press such as The New York Times, the BBC, Time, and The Wall Street Journal.

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