Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 15–27 | Cite as

This is not classified: everyday information seeking and encountering in smart urban spaces

  • Hannu Kukka
  • Vassilis Kostakos
  • Timo Ojala
  • Johanna Ylipulli
  • Tiina Suopajärvi
  • Marko Jurmu
  • Simo Hosio
Original Article


We present a multipronged comparative study of citizens’ self-proclaimed information needs and actual information seeking behavior in smart urban spaces. We first conducted several user studies to identify the types of information services that citizens believed to be useful in urban setting utilizing methods ranging from contextual inquiry with lo-fi prototypes to “card sorting” exercise with a separate set of participants, and finally to implementing selected services. We then made a sizeable constructive intervention into the urban space by deploying in a city center 12 large, interactive public displays called “hotspots” to offer a wide range of previously identified information services. We collected comprehensive qualitative and quantitative data on the usage of the hotspots and their services by the general public during 13 months. Our study reveals discrepancies between a priori and a posteriori information seeking strategies extracted from the self-proclaimed information needs and the actual usage of the hotspots.


Urban computing Large public displays Ubiquitous computing Information seeking Information encountering 



Financial support received from the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, the European Regional Development Fund, the City of Oulu, the Academy of Finland, and the UBI (UrBan Interactions) consortium is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannu Kukka
    • 1
  • Vassilis Kostakos
    • 1
  • Timo Ojala
    • 1
  • Johanna Ylipulli
    • 2
  • Tiina Suopajärvi
    • 2
  • Marko Jurmu
    • 1
  • Simo Hosio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and EngineeringUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.Department of Cultural AnthropologyUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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