On a Need to Know Basis : A Conceptual and Methodological Framework for Modelling and Analysis of Information Demand in an Enterprise Context

Abstract: While the amount of information, readily available to workers in information- and knowledge intensive business- and industrial contexts, only seem to increase with every day, those workers continue to have difficulties in finding and managing relevant and needed information despite the numerous technical, organisational, and practical approaches promising a remedy to the situation. In this dissertation it is claimed that the main reason for the shortcomings of such approaches are a lack of understanding of the underlying information demand people and organisations have in relation to performing work tasks. Furthermore, it is also argued that while this issue, even with a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms, still would remain a complex problem, it would at least be manageable.To facilitate the development of demand-driven information solutions and organisational change with respect to information demand the dissertation sets out to first provide the empirical and theoretical foundation for a method for modelling and analysing information demand in enterprise contexts and then presents an actual method. As a part of this effort, a conceptual framework for reasoning about information demand is presented together with experiences from a number of empirical cases focusing on both method generation and -validation. A methodological framework is then defined based on principles and ideas grounded in the empirical background and finally a number of method components are introduced in terms of notations, conceptual focus, and procedural approaches for capturing and representation of various aspects of information demand.The dissertation ends with a discussion concerning the validity of the presented method and results in terms of utility, relevance, and applicability with respect to industrial context and needs, as well as possible and planned future improvements and developments of the method.

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