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

Hamish McAlpine, Ben Hicks, C Tiryakioglu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

7 Citations (Scopus)


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 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. To address this, a detailed investigation into the PIM practice of 27 engineers working 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 that are the output of the design process. Users' satisfaction with their current PIM practice is also revealed, together with the seven most commonly cited issues. Lack of PIM tool integration is identified as a critical problem, and suggestions are made for both further research and practice.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationICED 11 - 18th International Conference on Engineering Design - Impacting Society Through Engineering Design. Vol. 6.
PublisherThe Design Society
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

18th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 11; Copenhagen; 15 - 18 August 2011

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