Knowledge Workers' use of electronic information sources
Paper i proceeding, 2008

Knowledge workers are those who interact knowledgeable with information by creating, reading, analyzing and acting upon it. Being able to find relevant information is thus an important task for any knowledge worker, but how is this achieved? By interviewing knowledge workers about their information seeking activities, we have produced novel findings. Firstly, we suggest that the knowledge worker moves between and within three different information environments – the local, the organizational and the global – and are thus forced to switch between tools to satisfy an information need. Therefore we suggest that future tools need to be designed to allow seamless interaction across all environments and tools. Secondly, the knowledge worker does not use the intranet search engine but finds intranet information via URLs received from colleagues. Thirdly, the knowledge worker seems to appreciate the judgment of fellow employees and to trust human filtering more than computer algorithms. Fourthly, surprisingly often the knowledge worker searches manually in the local and organizational environment, despite the existence of search tools. In contrast, when the public web is searched, search engines are often used heavily. We discuss how these findings are useful insights for the design of future information seeking tools.

Information seeking

electronic information environments

knowledge workers


Taline Jadaan

Dick Stenmark

Göteborgs universitet

Proceedings of ECIS 2008, Galway, Ireland, June 9-11, 2008



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