Jason Wiese, Jason Hong, and John Zimmerman


International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp)


September 2014


The smartphone contact list has the potential to be a valuable source of data about personal relationships. To understand how we might data mine the information that people store in their contact lists, we collected the contact lists of 54 participants. Initially we found that the majority of contact list features were unused. However, a further examination of the “name” field revealed a broad variety of contact-naming behaviors. We observed contact “name” fields that included affiliations, relationship role labels, multiple names, phone types, and references to companies / services / places. People’s appropriation and usage of contact lists have implications for automated attempts to merge or mine contact lists that assume people use the features and structure of the contact list tool as intended. They also offer new opportunities for data mining to better describe relationships between users and their contacts.

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