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The Information School of the University of Washington K eeping F ound T hings F ound and other challenges of Personal Information Management Harry Bruce,

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Presentation on theme: "The Information School of the University of Washington K eeping F ound T hings F ound and other challenges of Personal Information Management Harry Bruce,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Information School of the University of Washington K eeping F ound T hings F ound and other challenges of Personal Information Management Harry Bruce, William Jones, Susan Dumais

2 The Information School of the University of Washington The Challenge We regularly locate, encounter or acquire information that we know we will want to use again We need to organize and manage the information that we need to use for work, fun, and everyday tasks

3 The Information School of the University of Washington K eeping F ound T hings F ound Studied how individuals manage information that they find or encounter and plan to use at a later point in time –Focused on this behavior in relation to information located or encountered on the World Wide Web Participants: –Researchers –Information specialists –Managers Keeping Study Re-finding Study Survey Folders study Selected results

4 The Information School of the University of Washington The Keeping Study Goals –To understand the diversity of keeping and leaving methods that people use to manage Web information –To analyze the underlying function of the observed keeping methods

5 The Information School of the University of Washington Observation Participants (24) were asked to pursue a work task using the Web –observed and video recorded Participants were instructed to think aloud during the task, and to respond to interruptions and chance discoveries as they normally would

6 The Information School of the University of Washington Interview After the observation, participants were asked to “fill in the gaps” or to explain certain actions –identified other keeping/leaving methods they might use in other situations of web use –discussed the strengths and weaknesses of various methods

7 The Information School of the University of Washington The Re-finding Study Goal –To explore the various methods that participants used for re- finding information previously located or encountered on the World Wide Web Participants –twelve of the twenty-four participants from the Keeping Study

8 The Information School of the University of Washington Set up Sample of web sites recently visited –obtained from the participant’s History list –Frequency of access data (low, medium, high) Participants rate the likelihood of revisiting each site –75% or higher rating - participants provide a brief description of their activities at the site

9 The Information School of the University of Washington Observation 3-6 months later, participants were given cues for web sites selected from their descriptions of use in the set-up interview –asked if they recalled the related web site based on the brief description of activities at the site –asked to return to the cued web site

10 The Information School of the University of Washington Survey Goals –To determine, from a larger sample of participants, if the list of observed keeping methods was complete and how frequently people use each method –To find out why certain keeping methods are used Sample - 214

11 The Information School of the University of Washington Folders Study Goal – To observe the role of folders in the organization of project-related information 14 participants –Interviews –Snapshots of collections of information related to selected projects

12 The Information School of the University of Washington Personal Information Collection Our personal subset of the larger information world A collection of information sources and channels that we as individuals have acquired, cultivated, and organized over time Where we turn first when we need information to do a task or pursue an interest

13 The Information School of the University of Washington Personal Information Collection –A Mental Construct –A Set of Things Content in various forms (documents, web pages, mail, notes, calendars, address books, etc.) Structures for representing and organizing this information (folder hierarchies, piles, lists, etc.) Pointers to information (people, links, favorites, etc).

14 The Information School of the University of Washington Personal Information Collection A set of processes and related behavior –Selecting –Keeping/ leaving –Re-finding –Maintaining

15 The Information School of the University of Washington Keeping Behavior Occurs when an individual identifies information as useful and engages in actions to make the information accessible in the future

16 The Information School of the University of Washington Methods - Keeping Send an to self with URL Send an to others that contains a web page reference Print out the web page Save the web page as a file

17 The Information School of the University of Washington Methods - Keeping Paste the URL in a document Add a hyperlink in a personal web page Bookmark the web page Write down the URL Copy to a “links” toolbar Create a “note” in Outlook

18 The Information School of the University of Washington Leaving - do nothing - Behavior Occurs when the individual recognizes the information is useful (and that it will be useful in the future), but also that it can be located again easily The individual makes a conscious decision to leave the information in situ –For example, a regularly used website

19 The Information School of the University of Washington Methods – Leaving (Do nothing) Remember the URL (or remember the first part of the URL and rely on the browser for suggested completion) Search for (find again) desired information Reach information later from a known point of access, such as a web portal

20 The Information School of the University of Washington Keeping - Leaving People report using on average just over 5 methods for keeping web information at least once per week

21 The Information School of the University of Washington Top seven methods* Make a Bookmark or Favorite Do nothing to keep - search again to re-access Do nothing to keep - enter the URL directly Send to others Do nothing to keep - access via another website Print out the web page Send to self * Ranked by the proportion of participants using the method at least once per week

22 The Information School of the University of Washington Keeping – Leaving Individuals often use several keeping/leaving methods – choosing these methods according to their functionality and the purpose that the information kept is likely to serve in the future

23 The Information School of the University of Washington Method selection (functionality and information use) Context –Participant can establish a context for why a website was kept Reminding –Keeping method reminds participant about the information Ease of integration –Method helps the participant to integrate new info or new references with ongoing projects or organizational schemes Communication and information sharing –Method makes it easier to share information with others Ease of maintenance –Method supports or facilitates the participant’s effort to maintain and update his or her personal information collection

24 The Information School of the University of Washington Method selection (functionality and information use) Portability of information –Participants can take information with them Number of access points –Participant can access information from multiple places Persistence of information –Web site content will remain relatively unchanged over time Preservation of information in its current state –Design of web site will be preserved Currency of information –Information can be refreshed to reflect the most current updates to the content

25 The Information School of the University of Washington to self to others Print-out Save as file Paste URL in document Personal web site Write down URL PortabilityNumber ofaccess points Persistence Preservation CurrencyContext Reminding Ease ofintegration Communication Ease ofmaintenance Functionality influencing a participant’s decision to use a keeping method

26 The Information School of the University of Washington Memory - Attention People keep masses of information that they never use - large stacks of good intentions for web references, paper documents, etc. they mean to read some day but never do People have information closets - especially in digital form People forget to use information they have kept until it is too late People go to great lengths to arrange and highlight information so that they can see the things that matter first

27 The Information School of the University of Washington Fragmentation People complain about having too many information organizations - for , e- documents, paper, web references Some people go to great lengths to consolidate these organizations

28 The Information School of the University of Washington The Google question “Suppose that you could find your personal information using a simple search (fast, effortless to maintain, secure and private) Can we take away your folders?

29 The Information School of the University of Washington Folder study –Yes - 1 –No – 13

30 The Information School of the University of Washington The Google question Why are folders so important? –Visibility – Understanding – Folders show the relationship between things –Control – Being sure the files needed are in one place –Trust – can’t rely on search alone

31 The Information School of the University of Washington We need better PIM As individuals – better use of precious resources (time, money, energy, attention) and, ultimately, a better quality to our lives. For organizations, –Short term employee productivity and better team work –Longer-term management and leverage of employee expertise.

32 The Information School of the University of Washington We need better PIM Progress in PIM must be made not only with new tools and technologies but also with new teachable information management techniques –education programs in PIM literacy

33 The Information School of the University of Washington Next steps A. Fragmentation Integration Prototype development –Information management and project management go hand-in-hand –Un-application approach –Universal labeler; project planner B.Exploring personal information collection(s) (EPIC)

34 The Information School of the University of Washington Personal Information Collections Describe selected attributes (components, size, structures for organization, memory and access) of personal information collections that are used for work roles and tasks 1.How do people decide what to include in a personal information collection? 2.How do people organize and manage information in a personal information collection? 3.How do people find information they need in a personal information collection?


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