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Information scraps: how and why information eludes our personal information management tools

Bernstein, Michael, Van Kleek, Max, Karger, David and schraefel, mc (2008) Information scraps: how and why information eludes our personal information management tools ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 26, (4), pp. 1-46. (doi:10.1145/1402256.1402263).

Record type: Article


In this paper we describe information scraps -- a class of personal information whose content is scribbled on Post-it notes, scrawled on corners of random sheets of paper, buried inside the bodies of e-mail messages sent to ourselves, or typed haphazardly into text files. Information scraps hold our great ideas, sketches, notes, reminders, driving directions, and even our poetry. We define information scraps to be the body of personal information that is held outside of its natural or We have much still to learn about these loose forms of information capture. Why are they so often held outside of our traditional PIM locations and instead on Post-its or in text files? Why must we sometimes go around our traditional PIM applications to hold on to our scraps, such as by e-mailing ourselves? What are information scraps' role in the larger space of personal information management, and what do they uniquely offer that we find so appealing? If these unorganized bits truly indicate the failure of our PIM tools, how might we begin to build better tools? We have pursued these questions by undertaking a study of 27 knowledge workers. In our findings we describe information scraps from several angles: their content, their location, and the factors that lead to their use, which we identify as ease of capture, flexibility of content and organization, and avilability at the time of need. We also consider the personal emotive responses around scrap management. We present a set of design considerations that we have derived from the analysis of our study results. We present our work on an application platform, jourknow, to test some of these design and usability findings.

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Published date: September 2008
Keywords: personal information management, notetaking, information scraps
Organisations: Agents, Interactions & Complexity


Local EPrints ID: 266461
PURE UUID: dc6f85ca-81d3-4bd0-98d1-1bc6c4c8d5f0

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Date deposited: 31 Jul 2008 09:40
Last modified: 24 Jul 2017 16:41

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Author: Michael Bernstein
Author: Max Van Kleek
Author: David Karger
Author: mc schraefel

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