Theory of Skim Reading

Photograph of Stephen Payne

Stephen Payne

(University of Bath)

It is no longer difficult to find relevant information sources for most knowledge-acquisition tasks. Instead, the challenge is to allocate limited time effectively within and between documents. It is a commonplace observation that on-line reading is often skim reading. Yet little is know about how skim reading is done or how effective it is. I will present a series of experimental studies in which participants with general learning goals allocate limited time to multiple or single on-line documents. I will sketch a theory of skim reading that differs from conventional suppositions and offer some speculations about how the theory might inform design, and how it relates to a general approach to human activities.
Thursday 25th March 2010, 14:00
Robert Recorde Room
Department of Computer Science