Surviving the Information Explosion: How People Find Their Electronic Information

Unknown author (2003-04-15)

We report on a study of how people look for information within email, files, and the Web. When locating a document or searching for a specific answer, people relied on their contextual knowledge of their information target to help them find it, often associating the target with a specific document. They appeared to prefer to use this contextual information as a guide in navigating locally in small steps to the desired document rather than directly jumping to their target. We found this behavior was especially true for people with unstructured information organization. We discuss the implications of our findings for the design of personal information management tools.