Faculty Spotlight

Information-Organizing and Information-Keeping Behavior

Assistant Professor Kyong Eun Oh expresses the need to explore how people organize their personal information in everyday life.

People organize their information in certain ways in their daily lives. Despite its importance and close relationship with our lives, little is known about information organizing behavior, especially what process people go through when organizing information. In a panel discussion presented in 2015 at the 78th Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO., Assistant Professor Kyong Eun Oh from the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences expressed the need to explore how people organize their personal information in everyday life.

Oh introduced the personal information organization process (PIOP) model, a six stage model that holistically shows the process of organizing personal information. The PIOP model identifies behavioral (actions) and cognitive (thoughts) aspects of the process, as well as decisions and factors that are involved during the process. This model also shows that social groups (i.e., thought communities) influence the information organization process. The PIOP model initially has been developed by investigating how academics in social science field organize their information (Oh, 2013).

Since information organizing behavior is part of individuals’ everyday lives, investigating information organizing behavior makes direct contributions to the development and design of various devices, applications, and strategies that support individuals’ effective organization of their information. This will impact individuals by facilitating finding information, supporting reminding and managing tasks, and increasing individuals’ personal productivity which is connected to the productivity of social or private groups.

Information-keeping behavior can be defined as “the way people keep information in a physical or virtual location for a certain period of time for personal or organizational use” (Koh, Oh, & Agarwal, 2015). Just like information finding, organizing, and creating, people extensively keep information. However, information keeping behavior is another form of information behavior that has been understudied. In the panel discussion, Oh highlighted some of the primary findings from personal information management literature in terms of information keeping behaviors, and emphasize the need to further investigate information keeping behavior in the information behavior context. Information keeping behavior is closely related to other forms of information behavior. Examining information keeping behaviors is expected to contribute to the designing systems and tools that support effective information keeping behavior. This will impact individuals by strengthening the benefits of effective information keeping such as reminiscing, retrieving, and remembering intentions (Sellen & Whittaker, 2010) and overcoming the weakness of human memories.

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