Contact management: Identifying contacts to support lonq-term communication

Steve Whittaker, Quentin Jones, Loren Terveen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

42 Scopus citations


Much of our daily communication activity involves managing interpersonal communications and relationships. Despite its importance, this activity of contact management is poorly understood. We report on field and lab studies that begin to illuminate it. A field study of business professionals confirmed the importance of contact management and revealed a major difficulty: selecting important contacts from the large set of people with whom one communicates. These interviews also showed that communication history is a key resource for this task. Informants identified several history-based criteria that they considered useful. We conducted a lab study to test how well these criteria predict contact importance. Subjects identified important contacts from their email archives. We then analyzed their email to extract features for all contacts. Reciprocity, recency and longevity of email interaction proved to be strong predictors of contact importance. The experiment also identified another contact management problem: removing 'stale' contacts from long term archives. We discuss the design and theoretical implications of these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
EventThe eight Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2002) - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: Nov 16 2002Nov 20 2002


OtherThe eight Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2002)
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans, LA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture


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