photo of four people using the CoSearch system in which they use mobile phones to simultaenously search on a single shared display

project areas

formative studies & surveys

asynchronous collaboration

remote collaboration

co-located collaboration

collaborative sensemaking

social network Q&A / friendsourcing

social search

search education

social & collaborative search


Today, Web search is a solitary experience. Web browsers and search engine sites are typically designed to support a single user, working alone. However, collaboration on information-seeking tasks is actually quite commonplace. For example, students work together to complete homework assignments, friends seek information about entertainment opportunities, family members jointly plan vacation travel, and colleagues jointly conduct research for their projects. My research on collaborative search is aimed at facilitating small-group collaboration on search tasks. Collaborative search (also called "collaborative information seeking") is one example of social search, wherein users employ social resources to further an information need. More recently, I have begun to explore other aspects of social search, particularly the ways in which question-asking on social networks (friendsourcing) can complement the use of search engines.

teaching & service

My 2010 book Collaborative Web Search: Who, What, Where, When, and Why (co-authored with Jaime Teevan for Morgan & Claypool's series on Information Concepts, Retrieval, and Services) is the first book on the subject of collaborative information seeking. I also served as guest editor (together with Gene Golovchinsky and Jeremy Pickens) for a special issue of the journal Information Processing & Management on the topic of Collaborative Information Seeking (Volume 46, Issue 6, Nov. 2010). Gene, Jeremy, and I also recently organized a series of 3 workshops on the topic: a workshop at JCDL 2008, a workshop at CSCW 2010, and a workshop at CIKM 2011.

I organized the Social Search Social at Microsoft Research in February 2012. This event provided an opportunity for attendees of WSDM 2012 and CSCW 2012 to meet each other and learn about ongoing work in the area of social and collaborative search. As part of that event, I set up a community e-mail list for the purposes of announcing CFPs or workshops related to social search, or for seeking collaborators or participants in social search research efforts. This is a low traffic list that is moderated to prevent spam. To join, fill out this short web form. To post, send a message to (note that only list members can post messages). I also recently organized (along with several collaborators) the workshop on Social Media Question Asking, which was held in conjunction with CSCW 2013.

I have served as a program committee member for several of the top venues that feature social search research, including CSCW, ICWSM, and WWW, as well as speaking at industry events like the SMX conference. I chaired the "Interaction Beyond the Individual" papers subcommittee for the 2011 ACM CHI conference, and am program chair for CSCW 2014. I served as the general chair (together with Darren Gergle) for the CSCW 2016 conference. I also served as a member of the ACM CSCW Steering Committee from 2012 - 2015.

research projects

Formative studies & surveys on collaborative search

Asynchronous collaboration via persistent representations of search

Remote collaborative search

Co-located collaborative search

Collaborative sensemaking

social network question-asking / friendsourcing

Social Search

Search education