Information Demand and Use Improving Information Flow within Small-scale Business Contexts
Abstract: Whilst 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 still have difficulties in finding relevant and needed information as well as storing, distributing, and aggregating such information. Yet, whilst there exist numerous technical, organisational, and practical approaches to remedy the situation, the problems seem to prevail.This publication describes the first part of the author’s work on defining a methodology for improving the flow of work related information, with respect to the information demand of individuals and organisations. After a prefatory description of the perceived problems concerning information flow in modern organisations, a number of initial conjectures regarding information demand and use in small-scale business contexts are defined based on a literature study. With this as the starting point the author sets out to, through an empirical investigation performed in three different Swedish organisations during 2005, identify how individuals within organisations in general, and these three in particular, use information with respect to such organisational aspects as roles, tasks, and resources as well as spatio-temporal aspects. The results from the investigation are then used to validate the conjectures and to draw a number of conclusions on which both a definition of information demand, as well as the initial steps towards defining a methodology for information demand analysis, are based. Lastly, a short discussion of the applicability of the results in continued work is presented together with a description of such planned work.
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