Dr. Stan Ruecker is an Associate Professor with current research interests in the areas of humanities visualization, the future of reading, and information design. He came to ID from the University of Alberta’s interdisciplinary Humanities Computing program where he was also an Associate Professor, supervising graduate students and leading seminars on experimental interface design, knowledge management and analysis, research methods, and interdisciplinary research project management. His students have gone on to work with major research and development projects in fields ranging from medical imaging to oilfield decision support.

He is a major grant holder, and his research teams have presented their findings at over a hundred international conferences in design, computing science, educational technology, literature, communication technology, library and information studies, and humanities computing. He was the principal investigator of the SSHRC SRG Humanities Visualization team, and currently leads the interface design unit of the SSHRC MCRI Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) project.

His work to date has focused on developing prototypes to support the hermeneutic or interpretive process, and he has published extensively on information design, experimental interface design, and interdisciplinary research project management. His book Visual Interface Design for Digital Cultural Heritage, co-authored by Milena Radzikowska and Stéfan Sinclair, was released in 2011 by Ashgate Press.

He holds an interdisciplinary PhD in Humanities Computing from University of Alberta, an MDes from the same, an MA in English literature from University of Toronto, and advanced undergraduate degrees in English literature and computer science from University of Regina. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta’s Humanities Computing Program, and in the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Humanities.

Research Projects

  • Conversational Sculpture as an Enterprise Asset and Resource (CLEAR)
  • Speculative timelines
  • The simulated environment for theatre (SET)
  • The mandala browser
  • Visualization for decision support in multi-modal industry
  • Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE), which includes:
    • workflows as structured surfaces
    • citelens
    • the multitouch variorum
    • the dynamic table of contexts
    • the paper drill
  • Human-Centered Design of Future Contextual Information Delivery Services and Systems
  • Technology-mediated communication in health care


Roberts-Smith, Jennifer, Shawn DeSouza-Coelho, Teresa Dobson, Sandra Gabriele, Omar Rodriguez-Arenas, Stan Ruecker, Stéfan Sinclair, Annemarie Akong, Matt Bouchard, Diane Jakacki, David Lam, and Lesley Northam. “Visualizing Theatrical Text: from Watching the Script to the Simulated Environment for Theatre (SET).” Digital Humanities Quarterly 7.3, 2013.

Roberts-Smith, Jennifer, Shawn DeSouza-Coelho, Teresa Dobson, Sandra Gabriele, Stan Ruecker, Stéfan Sinclair, Alexandra (Sasha) Kovacs, and Daniel So. “Visualizing Theatre Historiography: Judith Thompson’s White Biting Dog (1984 and 2011) in the Simulated Environment for Theatre (SET).” Special Issue: Digital Inquiry Into Textual Relations: Research and Teaching With Online Tools. Susan Brown and Stan Ruecker, editors. Digital Studies/Le champ numérique. Fall 2013.

Frizzera, Luciano, Milena Radzikowska, Geoff Roeder, Ernesto Peña, Teresa Dobson, Stan Ruecker, Geoffrey Rockwell, Susan Brown, and the INKE Research Group. “A Visual Workflow Interface for the Editorial Process.” Literary and Linguistic Computing. 28(4), 615-628. 2013.

Ruecker, Stan, Ali Grotkowski, Sandra Gabriele, Jennifer Roberts-Smith, Stéfan Sinclair, Teresa Dobson, Annemarie Akong, Sally Fung, and Omar Rodriguez. “Abstraction and Realism in the Design of Avatars for the Simulated Environment for Theatre.” Visual Communication Journal. 12(4), 459-472. 2013.

Ruecker, Stan, Geoffrey Rockwell, and the INKE Research Group. “An Introduction to New Knowledge Environments.” Paper presented in the panel “The Design of New Knowledge Environments” at the annual Digital Humanities conference (DH2013), Lincoln, Nebraska. July 16-19, 2013.

PhD Advising Research Statement

I am currently looking for PhD students to work with me on projects that deal with the theorization, design, prototyping, and testing of experimental information artifacts and interactive visualizations. The subject matter of these projects can potentially cover a wide range, including communication, health, business, and the digital humanities. I am particularly interested in dealing conceptually with the provision of overviews of information combined with tools for people to manipulate those overviews. For example, picture a map with pins in it. Now remove the map and replace it with an infographic. The result is a system for producing arguments where there is some data in the form of the structured surface and another kind of data in the placement and characteristics of the pins.

One thread that runs through many of my projects is the need for people to be able to assemble a collection of primary documents, then subject them to interpretive reading. The goal of interpretation is not necessarily to produce a single, definitive answer, but instead more typically to add to the list of existing valid interpretations. To support this kind of activity, we require iterative systems that encourage exploration, discovery of emergent patterns, analysis, synthesis, and communication of results. I am agnostic with respect to metadata standards and programming environments, but do prefer to combine theoretical discussions with specific designs and prototypes that can inform those discussions.