Library 2.0 and Personal Information Management: A Way Forward using Social Networks

Library 2.0 and Personal Information Management: A Way Forward using Social Networks

Elena Corradini, Mario Pérez-Montoro
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1912-8.ch009
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In this chapter, the authors review current literature on personal information management to analyze how it is understood with the aim of reviewing the way in which individuals try to manage their personal information and whether libraries observe the information behavior of their community members to learn which is the best way to offer their services. At the end of this process, they show that a role for library professionals could be devised in being information management mediators for their community members in the digital world, helping them make sense out of chaos. This role is clearly linked to the development of information literacy programs in libraries.
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If we analyse the current scientific literature, the concept of “Personal Information Management” is usually referred to in two different meanings: as activity, and as a discipline (Jones, 2007). As an activity, it is used to identify all actions that an individual usually carries out to acquire, create, organize, manage, retrieve, use, and distribute information related to his/her needs and in order to complete his/her tasks, or to meet responsibilities in personal, social, or working contexts. As a discipline, it investigates the kind of actions that occur during these practical activities, and its achievements are nurtured by frameworks and assumptions from diverse disciplines, such as, for example, Cognitive Science, Information Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Human-Computer Interaction.

Moreover, as a discipline, Personal Information Management is divided in two complementary threads. The first investigates the different kinds of behaviors that usually individuals display when dealing with personal information. On the other side, the second aims at proposing strategies and methods as to allow individuals to reach the nearest level of the ideal situation in managing their personal information, that could be summarized as follows: having accessed to the exact piece of information needed, in the optimal position, in the correct format, in perfect time of need, and as much complete and qualitatively adequate as possible to satisfy all the information needs that may emerge in their various everyday life contexts.

Nonetheless, the development of research in the field of Personal Information Management has been recently restrained by an important hindrance that originates in the same nature of the investigated topic: the fragmentation of personal information (Jones, 2007; Jones & Teevan, 2007). Normally, personal information handled by an individual in his/her daily life is fragmented in different respects. Either it is written in different formats (mainly on paper or in electronic form), or it is scattered in different kinds of documents (as for example texts, pictures, music, or video files). Finally, these multiple formats and kinds of documents has facilitated the rise of several strategies and tools that only partially help in keeping personal information in order, so that, on the contrary, they contribute to the consolidated practice of managing personal information in a fragmented way.

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