Readings' list

Barreau, D.K., Context as a factor in personal information management systems. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 46 (1995), 327-339.

Summary/ Key Points

"Kwasnik's work supports the notion that traditional systems which rely too heavy on document attributes are insufficient ... ". Context is a key factor.

This study explore if in organization of electronic documents context is important like in the paper environment.


7 subjects. 3 of them do not have hard drive and use 3.5" diskette.

Interview. The interviews were transcribed and the author analyzed the words used and the frequency.

The paper proceeds with a long list of words cited most often in different occasions (Acquisition, Classification and Organization, System maintenance, information retrieval.


She founds parallel with the results of Kwasnik. The analysis posed problems to isolate the dimensions applied in classification of a document.

Many of the files used in the workspace were not documents but tools.

"Document attributes alone are insufficient to describe and organize items within the dynamic environment of a PIM system. The condition in which documents are created and used change, and these conditions impact the way that individuals classify and organize information."

Users are not good in organizing their documents, they do not use the best strategies, therefore system must help them.


The focus is document classification and organization.

Disclaimer: I wrote these summaries to help me remember the content and the main ideas of the paper. Since I am interested in certain aspects, I may leave out others.

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