Daniel M. Russell

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Daniel M. Russell
Dr Daniel M Russell.jpg
Russell in 2006
Alma materUniversity of Rochester

Daniel M. Russell is an American computer scientist.


Russell graduated from University of California at Irvine with a B.S. in Information and Computer Science (1977). He received his M.S (1979) and Ph.D. (1985) in Computer Science from University of Rochester. His doctoral work was titled "Schema-Based Problem Solving" which was based on "using recombinations of pre-stored plans in sophisticated ways". While at University of Rochester, Russell did research work in "the neuropsychology of laterality, models of apraxia and aphasia, coordinated motor movements and computer vision".[1]


Russell joined Xerox Corporation in 1981 where he worked as a consultant at the Webster Research Center in New York. Russell then became a Research Associate where he engaged in AI research and the development of Interlisp-D courses.[1] In 1982, he joined the research staff at PARC. Until 1991, he led a project called "Instructional Design Environment" (IDE) with Richard Burton and Thomas P. Moran to "develop a practical computer-aided design and analysis system for use in ill-structured design tasks". He then worked in the User Interface Research group, led by Stuart Card, which studied the uses of information visualization techniques.[1]

Russell worked at Apple in the Advanced Technology Group sector from 1993 to 1997. He managed research within the User Experience Research Group which studied issues of sensemaking, cognitive modelling of analysis tasks, synchronous and asynchronous collaboration, shared awareness of individual state, joint work coordination, and knowledge-based use of complex, heterogenous information.[1] Alongside his research, he developed applications such as Knowbots and AI planner-based assistants for Macintosh OS. Russell subsequently became the Director of the Knowledge Management Technologies laboratory where he led the research efforts in five areas: Intelligent Systems, Spoken Language, User Experience, Interaction Design, and Information Technology. As Director, Russell also worked alongside the Apple CEO Tim Cook and founder Steve Jobs in corporation on Network Computing.

Russell was an adjunct lecturer on the Engineering and Computer Science faculty of the University of Santa Clara (1998), and has taught special topics classes in Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University (1994).[1]

Russell returned to Xerox in 1997 where he worked as a manager in the User Experience Research area through 2000. From 1998 to 1999, Russell led the Madcap project, a system to capture, organize and render large amounts of complex presentation materials into an understandable whole. The project is implemented in Java and QuickTime.[1]

Russell joined IBM in 2000, where he managed a research group in the User Sciences and Experience Research (USER) lab at the IBM Almaden Research Center. He subsequently became a senior manager where he led larger research groups in areas covering user experience design of large systems.[2] Until 2005, he engaged in understanding sensemaking behaviour of people dealing with mass information collection. He has also contributed in the design and use case studies in the BlueBoard system as a collaboration tool.[1] BlueBoard is a large interactive system and display surface for collaboration whose primary goal was to support quick information access and sharing through shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration. The tool was also used to explore computer interfaces in public spaces. The project's success led it to be installed in the main lobby of the IBM Watson Research Lab as well as the boardroom of IBM CEO Lou Gerstner per his request.[3]

Russell worked at Google from 2005 until 2023, where he was a senior research scientist and lead for the research area of "Search Quality & User Happiness". He coordinated the development of two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) on effective searching skills which were launched in 2012 on PowerSearchingWithGoogle.com, which had more than 3 million students.[4] In September 2019, MIT Press and Dr. Russell tweeted that 4.4M people have taken Power Searching with Google MOOC[5]

He also led a Search Education team that developed A-Google-Day, launched April 11, 2011,[6] a large-scale teaching system in which users can practice their searching skills with Google.[1] The software package for it was later re-packaged and offered on Google's Course Builder.[citation needed]

Russell has also given commencement address, lectures and keynote conferences about different topics in Academy.[4][7][8][9][10]

Russell investigates how users search on the internet[11] and mentioned in an interview: "One statistic blew my mind. 90 percent of people in their studies don't know how to use CTRL/Command + F to find a word in a document or web page!". He creates videos ("1 Minute Morceaux" on his YouTube Channel) with which he wants to improve web literacy.[12]

In 2019 Russell wrote an article for Scientific American called How to Be a Better Web Searcher: Secrets from Google Scientists, together with Mario Callegaro[13] and published the book The Joy of Search: A Google Insider's Guide.[14] It received generally favorable reviews.[15][16][17] He teaches on the subject of effective web-search strategies, using large-scale teaching systems developed by him at Google. Russell sometimes refers to himself as a search anthropologist for his focus on user experience in web search and improving sensemaking of information with technology.[18] Russell is also a Resident Futurist at University of Maryland, where he works for the Office of the vice-president for Research.[1]

Russell has held research positions with IBM (as a senior research scientist, and briefly at a startup that developed tablet computers a few years before the iPad.[9] ), Apple Inc. (where he wrote the first 100 web pages for www.Apple.com using SimpleText.[9]) and Xerox over the course of his career.[10]

In 2023, Daniel Russell was laid off from Google as a part of its larger lay off of 12,000 employees.[19]


Russell's research focus has been human experience with search engines and in large, complex collections of information. He aims to design comprehensible and intuitive ways for users to engage with information effectively.[18] Particular topics include the design of information experience; sensemaking; intelligent agents; knowledge-based assistance; information visualization; multimedia documents; advanced design and development environments; design rationale; planning; intelligent tutoring; hypermedia; and human–computer interfaces.[1]

While developing AI technology at Xerox PARC, Russell realized that sophisticated technology was useless if people did not intuitively know how to use it. This motivated him to shift his focus to the sciences of user experience.[20]

In 2011, Russell taught effective searching skills and enhancing learning efficacy.[18] Russell also investigated new approaches to dealing with the growing amount of available information.[21]

Authored publications and cited works[edit]

Russell's authored publications in topics including education innovation, human–computer interaction and visualization, information retrieval and the web, and mobile systems can be found on the Google AI website.[22] His works are widely cited by other authors.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Russell blogs on effective searching skills as well as his own investigations in sensemaking and information foraging.[24]

Russell started writing his blog, SearchResearch, in 2010.[25]

On October 23, 2013, Russell appeared on Lifehacker's "The How I Work series", interviewed by Tessa Miller. On it, Russell describes a day in his life, how he works and some personal topics [26]

On August 9, 2017, his blog arrived to the first 1,000 posts.[27]


Russell was inducted into the CHI Academy (ACM) in 2016. He was added to the UC Irvine Information & Computer Science Department Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2013, Russell received the UC Irvine Bren School's 2013 Lauds & Laurels Distinguished Alumnus award.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Russell, Daniel M. "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Daniel M. Russell. Daniel M. Russell. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  2. ^ Gleick, James (22 April 2001). "THE WIRELESS AGE; Theories of Connectivity by James Gleick". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Gossweiler, Rich. "Blueboard". Rich Gossweiler. Rich Gossweiler. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  5. ^ Dr. Russell's Twitter https://twitter.com/dmrussell/status/1176873485982822400. Retrieved 13 November 2019. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "A Google a Day July 11, 2011 by Michelle Lindblom". WiredImpact.com.
  7. ^ ""You want to do what??" A commencement address for the I-school at the University of Maryland (2017)". SearchReSearch1 Blog. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  8. ^ "CHI Stories - Daniel M. Russell". YouTube Channel ACM SIGCHI. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "What Does It Mean To Be Literate in the Age of Google? (February 28, 2012)". Princeton Public Lectures. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Google expert gives tips on Internet searching". Elon University. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Crazy: 90 Percent of People Don't Know How to Use CTRL+F". theatlantic.com. ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL. 18 August 2011.
  12. ^ "A Google Researcher Reveals 4 Crucial Things "Average Users" Should Know But Don't". Fast Company. BY KEVIN PURDY (2012). 18 December 2012.
  13. ^ "How to Be a Better Web Searcher: Secrets from Google Scientists Researchers who study how we use search engines share common mistakes, misperceptions and advice". Scientific American. Daniel M. Russell and Mario Callegaro on March 26, 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  14. ^ The Joy of Search | the MIT Press. MIT Press book page. MIT Press. 24 September 2019. ISBN 9780262042871. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Book Review: The Joy of Search". 11 August 2019.
  16. ^ https://twitter.com/ICERI_Conf/status/1193802266983178240. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ The International Academy of Technology, Education and Development (IATED) https://iated.org/iceri/keynote. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ a b c Russell, Daniel M. "Brief Biography". Even more about Dan... Daniel M. Russell. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  19. ^ https://www.linkedin.com/posts/dan-russell-6901a9_thejoyofsearch-google-activity-7022308252495319040-fXn2?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop
  20. ^ Temple, James (30 March 2012). "Meet Google's search anthropologist". SFGATE. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  21. ^ Eisenberg, Anne (19 August 2004). "WHAT'S NEXT; Making a Web Search Feel Like a Stroll in the Library". New York Times Company. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Daniel M. Russell". Google AI. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  23. ^ "Daniel M Russell on Google Scholar". Google Scholar. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  24. ^ Russell, Daniel M. "SearchResearch". SearchResearch. Daniel M. Russell. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  25. ^ "About this blog--Why SearchReSearch?". SearchResearch Blog. 30 January 2010.
  26. ^ "I'm Dan Russell, Google Research Scientist, and This Is How I Work". LifeHacker. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  27. ^ "SearchResearch Challenge (8/9/17): Questions about the Yucatán? (#1000)". 9 August 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2017.