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

Hamish McAlpine, Ben Hicks, C Tiryakioglu

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

7 Citations (SciVal)


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 languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICED 11 - 18th International Conference on Engineering Design - Impacting Society Through Engineering Design
PublisherDesign Society
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781904670261
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventInternational Conference on Engineering Design, ICED'11 - Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen
Duration: 15 Aug 201118 Aug 2011


ConferenceInternational Conference on Engineering Design, ICED'11
CityTechnical University of Denmark, Copenhagen


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