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IBM Cambridge Research Center

  Project: Malibu Personal Productivity Assistant


    Primary Researchers: Werner Geyer, Michael Muller, Beth Brownholtz, Casey Dugan, Eric WIlcox, David R Millen
    Contact: Werner Geyer

    Malibu provides peripheral awareness of and access to activities, tasks, social-bookmarks, and feeds to help knowledge workers do their activity-centric work. Users can access information from a variety of data sources quickly; find relevant information across data sources using social tags and person information; change contexts quickly; and better manage tasks by unifying to-dos, activities, and reminders from different data sources. Malibu runs as a desktop side bar (or can be docked in Sametime 7.5 or in a window) containing a series of configurable views each one displaying one data source. Similar to the Google Sidebar, Malibu can be extended with new views. Malibu views are Sametime 7.5 plugins and Malibu runs as a Sametime 7.5 application.


Malibu runs as a desktop side bar (“Malibu Board”) that slides out when users hover with their mouse at the left or right side of the screen. Malibu provides peripheral access to and awareness of multiple data sources contained in a series of configurable views, each one displaying one data source (see Figure 1). Similar to the Google side bar, Malibu can be extended with new views and data sources. The system currently supports the following views and data sources: tasks (A), activities (B) from next version of Activity Explorer called Open Activities, shared bookmarks (C) from the Dogear social bookmarking system, feeds (D) (RSS and ATOM) and people. There is no explicit people view since Malibu runs as an extension of a corporate instant messaging client. Each view has a different set of features. For example, the task view provides the ability for other views to flag any item in Malibu as a task containing a pointer to the original item. The activities view allows people to mark activities as either important or unimportant. The activities view also has filters to show only important and modified activities. This way, users can manually manage and prioritize their activities.

At the top of the Malibu Board, is the “Navigator” (E) which can be used to bring any Malibu item into focus, i.e. items can be selected as pivot objects on which Malibu performs a tag-based search (“Surf in Malibu”). When a user pivots on an item, views are reconfigured to display contextual information related to the current pivot object; which becomes the current focus of the board. The search can be refined by selecting individual tags or manually adding key words. The details box (F) shows information about the current focus item, including the social tags from that focus item (which were used to perform the tag-based search in all of the windows). Similar to a browser, the navigation buttons and the history drop-down menu can be used to restore the search results of previous pivot objects. Details such as tags, description and author information can be also viewed in a slide-out window by clicking on items in any view.