Daniel S. Griffin

advertising information retrieval interests

14 September 2019 - Oakland

I wrote some initial rambling musings on finding new running routes a few months ago: learn how to google trail routes

Another way to find new running routes (or, say in the case of my PhD research, stories of searching) is to present oneself to others as interested in hearing about them. Other people can be “human search intermediaries”1. I love hearing stories about searching troubles, successes, and surprises.

I don’t always love getting targeted advertising, but that is another manifestation of this general idea. This morning Reddit showed me an ad, a promoted tweet, with a San Francisco running routes guide. I’m assuming this is because I’m located in the Bay Area and have joined the r/Ultramarathon and r/AdvancedRunning subreddits. (I actually don’t know how targeted advertising works on Reddit.)

Promoted post in Reddit

Aside: If you go to the actual promoted post, text on the bottom says: “These routes were subjectively pulled form the most popular routes in SF by unique user counts.” Then it provides, as internal reference perhaps, a link to UnderArmour’s Atlassian Wiki Space for Data Science that doesn’t seem to be publicly accessible.


  1. I draw this phrase from a sentence in O’Day and Jeffries:

    To understand information delivery requirements, we conducted a study of how library clients deal with the information they get back from human intermediaries. [emphasis added]

    O’Day, V. L., & Jeffries, R. (1993, May). Orienteering in an information landscape: how information seekers get from here to there. In Proceedings of the INTERACT’93 and CHI’93 conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 438-445). ACM.

    Writing this post now, I note that the exact phrase, “human search intermediaries” appears in the information retrieval literature throughout the 1980s and 1990s.