Elizabeth Churchill

Yahoo! Research

Place Matters: Social Encounters between the Physical and Digital
18 minutes, 8.4mb, recorded 2008-03-04
Elizabeth Churchill

In a prior job, Yahoo researcher Elizabeth Churchill wanted to build relationships between colleagues in the Bay area and in Tokyo. In this talk at eTech 2008, Elizabeth discusses a project undertaken to accomplish this. The implementation was a large public touchscreen display where employees from both locations could post content of their choice to share with colleagues. The project allowed colleagues to window shop into an online world at a public display where people in the physical space could interact with the digital content and with each other, strengthening weak ties and creating ice breakers.

Elizabeth shares some of the challenges faced during the project and poses questions about the possible trajectories of uptake and success of such installations in the marketplace.


Elizabeth Churchill is a Principal Research Scientist at Yahoo! Research in Santa Clara, CA. She works in the area of Media Experience Research, her area of interest being social media. She is interested in thinking about the emerging digital media “ethnoscapes” (the fluid, shifting landscape of people and groups – passersby, tourists, immigrants, exiles) that make Internet life. Formerly, she worked at PARC, the Palo Alto Research Center, California in the Computing Science Lab (CSL). Prior to that she was the project lead of the Social Computing Group at FX Palo Laboratory, Fuji Xerox’s research lab in Palo Alto.

She has co-edited 5 books and has published within the areas of theoretical and applied psychology, cognitive science, human computer interaction and computer supported cooperative work. Elizabeth has a BSc in Experimental Psychology, an MSc in Knowledge Based Systems, both from the University of Sussex, and a PhD in Cognitive Science from the University of Cambridge.

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