The digital divide: Investigating the personal information management practices of engineers

Hamish C McAlpine, C Tiryakioglu, Ben Hicks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Whilst there exists a significant amount of work exploring the Personal Information Management (PIM) practices of various general groups of people (such as ‘knowledge workers’), or specific PIM tools (such as email, or task management tools) there has been considerably less research focussed on the wider PIM practice of engineers. Furthermore, the revolution in working practices witnessed over the last decade means that previous studies may fail to give an accurate picture of today’s practice.

This research therefore presents a detailed investigation into the PIM practice of 27 engineers working in a range of organisations and across various stages of the product lifecycle is presented. Through semi-structured interviews and a detailed mapping exercise of the engineers’ PIM tools and sources, their ‘information world’ is characterised. The research also sheds light on the relationships between informal PIM tools and more formal document types generated as part of the design process. Users’ satisfaction with their current PIM practice is also revealed, together with the seven most commonly cited issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDS 68-6: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design
Subtitle of host publicationVol. 6: Design Information and Knowledge, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15.-19.08.2011
PublisherThe Design Society
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781904670261
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED)
PublisherThe Design Society
ISSN (Print)2220-4334


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