The Trials and Tribulations of Working with Structured Data: a Study on Information Seeking Behaviour

Laura Koesten, Magdalena Kacprzak Emilia, Jeni Tennison, Elena Simperl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Structured data such as databases, spreadsheets and web tables is becoming critical in every domain and professional role. Yet we still do not know much about how people interact with it. Our research focuses on the information seeking behaviour of people looking for new sources of structured data online, including the task context in which the data will be used, data search, and the identification of relevant datasets from a set of possible candidates. We present a mixed-methods study covering in-depth interviews with 20 participants with various professional backgrounds, supported by the analysis of search logs of a large data portal. Based on this study, we propose a framework for human structured-data interaction and discuss challenges people encounter when trying to find and assess data that helps their daily work. We provide design recommendations for data publishers and developers of online data platforms such as data catalogs and marketplaces. These recommendations highlight important questions for HCI research to improve how people engage and make use of this incredibly useful online resource.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '17: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationCHI '17: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-4655-9
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Human Data Interaction
  • Data Search
  • Data Portal
  • Information Seeking

Cite this