Even more about Dan...


The central organizing theme of my research career is this: to understand the nature of how people use large & complex collections of information in useful ways, and to create an attractive, comprehensible, evocative user experience of that information.

Following this lead, I work to invent new mechanisms that let us know more, perceive more richly, and comprehend the world in new ways.

Specific research topics over the past several years have included: the design of information experience, sensemaking; intelligent agents; knowledge-based assistance; information visualization; multimedia documents; advanced design and development environments; design rationale; planning; intelligent tutoring; hypermedia; human/computer interfaces.

Currently (2011), I am actively teaching the world how to search more effectively and studying what amplifies their ability to learn, and what prevents it from happening. Improving someone's ability to search essentially boosts their intelligence--they can discover things about the world that would have been impossible just 5 years ago. In just a few minutes, I can show you a few things that will make your searching much higher quality. This is an important task.


Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, November, 1984.

Schema-based problem-solving: an investigation into using recombinations of pre-stored plans in sophisticated ways

M.S., Computer Science, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, May 1979.

B.S., Information & Computer Science, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA, June 1977.


US Patent 7,143,362 (November, 2006)

“System and method for visualizing and navigating content in a graphical user interface”

US Patent 5,530,235 (July, 1996)

“Interactive contents revealing storage device” (DocuCard)

US Patent 5,534,975 (July, 1996)

“Document process system utilizing document service cards to provide document processing services”

IBM IP Disclosure filed: “Analytic worksheets for streaming media” ARC820050079 (May, 2005)


Daniel Russell is a research scientist at Google where has been working in the area of search quality, with a focus on understanding what makes Google users happy, skilled and competent in their use of web search. He is sometimes called a search anthropologist because of his focus on understanding how people use the tools of technology to amplify their intelligence. But his research methods draw equally on ethnography and field work, lab studies, classical usability analysis, eyetracking experiments and large-scale logs analysis.

From 2000 until mid-2005, Dan was a senior research scientist in the User Sciences and Experience Research (USER) lab at IBM’s Almaden Research Center (San José, CA). The lab’s main interests are in the areas of designing the complete user experience of computation, especially in the domains of highly sensed / attentive environments, formalizing the characteristics of human behaviors for input mechanisms, and creating new ways of emplacing computation into the work space. As an individual contributor, Dan was best known for his recent work on the large, interactive IBM BlueBoard system for simple collaboration, and for his studies of sensemaking behavior of people dealing with understanding large amounts of information.

Prior to his engagement at IBM, Dan managed the User Experience Research group at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Returning to PARC after a nearly 5 year stint at Apple, UER@PARC spent 9 months working on the design of a complete user experience for a new class of information appliance. The group designed and implemented Madcap, a highly interactive browser for large, richly coordinated media collections.

Until September of 1997, Dan was the Director of the Knowledge Management Technologies laboratory within Apple’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG). In this capacity, he coordinated the research efforts of five areas (Intelligent Systems, Spoken Language, User Experience, Interaction Design, and Information Technology) to provide an amalgamating, integrative direction to the research as a whole. Before KMT, he managed Apple’s User Experience Research group, which studied issues of sensemaking, cognitive modelling of analysis tasks, synchronous and asynchronous collaboration, shared awareness of individual state, joint work coordination, and knowledge-based use of complex, heterogenous information.

Prior to joining Apple in 1993, Dan was a Member of the Research Staff at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in the User Interface Research group studying uses of information visualization techniques. Before that, from 1984 through 1991 he led the "Instructional Design Environment" project (with both Richard Burton and Tom Moran) to develop a practical computer-aided design and analysis system for use in ill-structured design tasks. In addition to his work at PARC, he has been an adjunct lecturer on the Engineering and Computer Science (Computer Science) faculty of the University of Santa Clara, and taught special topics classes in Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University.

Dan publishes widely, with more than 100 articles and publications in his CV. He is a frequent subject of press interviews and has helped portray a great deal of complex technology to the non-technical world.

Dr. Russell received his B.S. in Information and Computer Science from U.C. Irvine, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Rochester. While at Rochester, he did graduate work in the neuropsychology of laterality, models of apraxia and aphasia, coordinated motor movements and computer vision. Prior to PARC, Dr. Russell worked in the Xerox Webster Research Center gaining practical experience in printing systems and computer architecture.

For even MORE information, please see my curriculum vitae.

Images for use at conferences, etc.

Last edited: Sept-20-2013