Conceptual misfits in email-based current awareness interaction

Attfield, Simon and Blandford, Ann (2010) Conceptual misfits in email-based current awareness interaction. Journal of Documentation, 67 (1). pp. 33-55. ISSN 0022-0418

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Purpose - This research aims to identify some requirements for supporting user interactions with electronic current-awareness alert systems based on data from a professional work environment.

Design/methodology/approach - Qualitative data was gathered using contextual inquiry observations with twenty-one workers at the London office of an international law firm. The analysis uses CASSM (‘Concept-based Analysis of Surface and Structural Misfits’), a usability evaluation method structured around identifying mismatches, or ‘misfits’, between user-concepts and concepts represented within a system.

Findings - Participants were frequently overwhelmed by email alerts, and a key requirement is to support efficient interaction. Several misfits which act as barriers to efficient reviewing and follow-on activities are demonstrated. These relate to a lack of representation of key user-concepts at the interface and/or within the system, including alert items and their properties, source documents, ‘back-story’, primary sources, content categorisations and user collections.

Research limitations/implications - Given these misfits we derive a set of requirements to improve the efficiency with which users can achieve key outcomes with current-awareness information as these occur within a professional work environment.

Originality/value - The findings will be of interest to current-awareness providers. The approach is relevant to information interaction researchers interested in deriving design requirements from naturalistic studies

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Computer Science
Item ID: 6793
Notes on copyright: Author's post refereed version hosted as allowed by publisher.
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Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2011 12:10
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2019 19:20

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