Online from: 1945
Subject Area: Library and Information Studies
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|Title:||Conceptual misfits in e-mail-based current-awareness interaction|
|Author(s):||Simon Attfield, (Middlesex University, London, UK), Ann Blandford, (UCL Interaction Centre, University College, London, UK)|
|Citation:||Simon Attfield, Ann Blandford, (2011) "Conceptual misfits in e-mail-based current-awareness interaction", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 67 Iss: 1, pp.33 - 55|
|Keywords:||Electronic resources, Information research, User studies|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/00220411111105443 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The authors thank Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for helping them with the work reported in this paper. This work was funded under EPSRC Grant EP/D056268 “Making Sense of Information”.|
Purpose – This research aims to identify some requirements for supporting user interactions with electronic current-awareness alert systems based on data from a professional work environment.
Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative data were gathered using contextual inquiry observations with 21 workers at the London office of an international law firm. The analysis uses CASSM (“Concept-based Analysis of Surface and Structural Misfits”), a usability evaluation method structured around identifying mismatches, or “misfits”, between user-concepts and concepts represented within a system.
Findings – Participants were frequently overwhelmed by e-mail alerts, and a key requirement is to support efficient interaction. Several misfits, which act as barriers to efficient reviewing and follow-on activities, are demonstrated. These relate to a lack of representation of key user-concepts at the interface and/or within the system, including alert items and their properties, source documents, “back-story”, primary sources, content categorisations and user collections.
Research limitations/implications – Given these misfits, a set of requirements is derived to improve the efficiency with which users can achieve key outcomes with current-awareness information as these occur within a professional work environment.
Originality/value – The findings will be of interest to current-awareness providers. The approach is relevant to information interaction researchers interested in deriving design requirements from naturalistic studies.
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