Social and interactional practices for disseminating current awareness information in an organisational setting.

Attfield, Simon and Blandford, Ann and Makri, Stephann (2010) Social and interactional practices for disseminating current awareness information in an organisational setting. Information Processing and Management, 46 (6). pp. 632-645. ISSN 0306-4573

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Abstract

Current awareness services are designed to keep users informed about recent developments based around user need profiles. In organisational settings, they may operate through both electronic and social interactions aimed at delivering information that is relevant, pertinent and current. Understanding these interactions can reveal the tensions in current awareness dissemination and help inform ways of making services more effective and efficient. We report an in-depth, observational study of electronic current awareness use within a large London law firm. The study found that selection, re-aggregation and forwarding of information by multiple actors gives rise to a complex sociotechnical distribution network. Knowledge management staff act as a layer of “intelligent filters” sensitive to complex, local information needs; their distribution decisions address multiple situational relevance factors in a situation fraught with information overload and restrictive time-pressures. Their decisions aim to optimise conflicting constraints of recall, precision and information quantity. Critical to this is the use of dynamic profile updates which propagate back through the network through formal and informal social interactions. This supports changes to situational relevance judgements and so allows the network to ‘self-tune’. These findings lead to design requirements, including that systems should support rapid assessment of information items against an individual’s interests; that it should be possible to organise information for different subsequent uses; and that there should be back-propagation from information consumers to providers, to tune the understanding of their information needs.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:School of Science and Technology > Computer and Communications Engineering
Citations on ISI Web of Science:2
ID Code:6795
Permissions granted by publisher:Author's post refereed version as allowed by publisher.
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Deposited On:04 Jan 2011 13:18
Last Modified:18 Jul 2014 23:04

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