J. Blustein's Dalhousie Homepage


Postal address
Dr. J. Blustein
Dalhousie U., Faculty of Computer Science
Goldberg CS Bldg., 6050 University Ave.
PO Box 15000 [why?]
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3H 4R2
Address in vCard format
Office (maps and directions)
Room 4203
Mona Campbell Bldg. (1459 LeMarchant St.)
Telephone ☎
(+1)(902) 494-6104
(+1)(902) 492-1517

Office Hours My office hours are announced in my courses' Brightspace instances.  I am available to meet by appointment (online and in person).

Because the e-mail service for @cs.dal.ca and @dal.ca addresses is not always completely reliable I am likely to respond from an address using @dalprofs.org instead.

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Research Interests

I am an active researcher.  My overall goal is to help people find and use information more effectively.  I believe this goal can best be achieved through interdisciplinary and collaborative research.  Much of my research is conducted under the mantle of the HAIKU research group.

A searchable version of my bibliography is in the collection of links to research resources I maintain primarily for graduate students.

My research is funded by CFI, NSERC, and SSHRC.

Selected Publications

In addition to my record in Dalhousie's institutional repository, a list of some selected publications (many with abstracts) is available.

My ORCID ID is 0000-0003-4347-054X; I have an author page at Google Scholar, an author page at ResearchGate and an author page in ACM's Digital Library.

Research Areas

My major research areas are summarized by the fields below:

Hypertext Text which does not form a single sequence and which may be read in various orders …
(Simpson & Weiner, 1993, in the OED Additions Series)
Human-Computer Interaction Understanding how people use computer technology, to develop tools that fit users rather than tools that users must contort to fit
Web science What do people and communities want from [the technology of] the Web
(Shneiderman, 2007 in CACM, DOI:10.1145/1247001.1247022)
Digital Libraries A reconceptualisation of that cornerstone of civilisation, The Library

Specifically the following topics:

Hypertext in the wild: Technology-enabled Learning (esp. annotation and text analytics)
  • Supporting expert readers and learners by understanding their needs, and building suitable tools to support their activities
  • Building on open electronic resources to create tools that will enable users to make more, and more persistent, knowledge from existing texts
Sensemaking Sensemaking is the process of searching for a representation and encoding data in that representation to answer task-specific questions.
(Russell et al., 1993 in INTERCHI'93, DOI:10.1145/169059.169209)
Cultural Preservation (especially in Memory Institutions, the so-called GLAM sector) Touch Archive: A curated collection of non-textual objects, from cultural artefacts to computer files
Information Seeking … a variety of behaviors [sic] seemingly motivated by the recognition of missing information. … information seeking is typically defined strictly in terms of active and intentional behavior…
(Case, 2007, p. 81, Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior[sic], 2e, ISBN 978-0-12-369430-0)
Privacy (especially in Health Records) Using privacy-by-design to create communities of trust and collaboration to produce high efficiency, harmonization and linkage of datasets

Potential Graduate Students/Research Assistants

Please see the Graduate section (below) for topic suggestions, answers to frequently asked questions, and more.  I do not do research in data mining (except possibly specialised user interfaces).

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For details about all of my courses see my courses webpage.

A list of topics I can use books about is in a webpage just for book reps.

Course Information for 2022/2023

This Winter (Jan.Apr. 2023) I am teaching CSCI4163 & CSCI6610 (Human Computer Interaction). 

The classes meet in room P5260 of the Psychology wing of the LSC from 2:35 until 5:25 p.m. on Mondays (for labs led by teaching assistants) and on Tuesdays (for lectures and seminars led by me, the professor).

Most course materials, and all announcements, for my courses should be available for registered students from the dal.brightspace.com website.

Lecture Notes, etc.

My courses webpage has information about all of the courses I teach.

I also keep a collection of material for teaching (forms, slides, notes, etc.) for a variety of courses.

Some of the materials for my current classes is available to my students through Dal's Brightspace and the FCS's portal websites.

Office Hours

Office Hours I am available to meet by appointment (online and in person).  My office is in Room 4023 of the Mona Campbell Building (maps and directions).

Undergraduate Advising

To make an appointment with an advisor or to ask questions about advising please send an e-mail message to <undergrad@cs.dal.ca>.

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Graduate students …

please see

office hours  I will not have regular office hours before September 2020.  I am available to meet by appointment (online and in person) or chance.  My office is in Room 4023 of the Mona Campbell Building (maps and directions).

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Other Information

is four parts: about me, other resources, for more …, and about this document.

About Me


As a high school student I was much more successful in humanities courses (Literature, History and Philosophy) than the Sciences (Mathematics, Physics, etc.) but because I found the way the empirical sciences explained the world enticing, and the experience I had working with researchers at the Weizmann Institute, I enrolled in biochemistry at university.  Three summers working in physiology and genetics laboratories helped me decide that my talents lay elsewhere.  I began studying computer science and philosophy but later focused my attention solely on CS.  As a tutor, and later as an instructor, I discovered the joy of teaching — of being a part of someone's learning.

My masters supervisor (Bob Webber) introduced me to hypertext and cyberpunk literature; and I introduced him to the then nascent World Wide Web.  We began a lengthy investigation into how to help people to find and use information that is the basis of my research mission.  I began my PhD studies in Computer Science under the supervision of the late Jean Tague-Sutcliffe (then the Dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Western Ontario).  Mark Kinnucan, a professor in GSLIS, introduced me to the cognitive aspects of human-computer interaction just as Jean introduced me to serious experimental design and statistical analysis.

My doctoral thesis was about developing and testing methods for automatically converting lengthy scholarly texts into forms that are quick to read and understand.  In the last phases of that research it became apparent to me just how essential individual differences and interface aspects were to the effectiveness of such methods.  The way I approach my goal of helping people to find and use information continues to be deeply embedded in hypertext and, since the end of my doctoral work, has involved studies of human-computer interaction.

Academic Appointment

I am an associate professor in Dalhousie University's Faculty of Computer Science and hold a cross-appointment in the School of Information Management (in the Faculty of Management).  I became an associate professor (with tenure) effective July 2007.  I have been a faculty member in Computer Science (and Graduate Studies) at Dalhousie since August 2000.  I joined the Faculty of Management in 2005.


My weekday schedule is no longer on the WWW.

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Other Resources

For more …

please see

An accesskey legend for this webpage is available.