Information Seeking Strategies in Organizational Information Architecture
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Organizational users daily manage a tremendous amount of information. Their management can be challenging for many users. Especially retrieving unstructured information from the organizational file server involves often major difficulties. Causes are, for instance, an intransparent filing structure as well as limited search and retrieving functions. Failure of information retrieval can result in major organizational inefficiencies such as recreating already existing information or wrong decision making due to an incomplete information base. Locating needed information requires the user’s engagement in an information search process in the organizational information infrastructure. This search process shows usually different information seeking behaviors. The paper at hand reports on an empirical study on information seeking strategies of users in the organizational information architecture and in particular at the organizational file server. Investigating such information seeking strategies can help to identify information seeking patterns of organizational users as well as determining information seeking problems, which influence the users’ decision on the search strategy. The results of the study indicate that users apply many different strategies when searching information on the file server. The strategies which are applied depend on the user’s personal preferences, information seeking constraints as well as problems encountered during the information search process. A further important aspect on the selection of the search strategy is the level of contextual information about the needed item a user might possess. It is hoped that the identification of the search patterns can inform information system designers for developing innovative systems and interfaces which facilitate a more effective and efficient information search process.
KeywordsInformation-seeking strategies information-seeking constraints document management organizational file server
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