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Revisiting Whittaker & Sidner’s “Email Overload” Ten Years Later

Danyel Fisher, A.J. Brush, Eric Gleave, and Marc A. Smith


Ten years ago, Whittaker and Sidner [8] published research on email overload, coining a term that would drive a research area that continues today. We examine a sample of 600 mailboxes collected at a high-tech company to compare how users organize their email now to 1996. While inboxes are roughly the same size as in 1996, our population’s email archives have grown tenfold. We see little evidence of distinct strategies for handling email; most of our users fall into a middle ground. There remains a need for future innovations to help people manage growing archives of email and large inboxes.


Publication typeInproceedings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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