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Conceptual Misfits in Email-based Current Awareness Interaction

Attfield, S; Blandford, A; (2011) Conceptual Misfits in Email-based Current Awareness Interaction. Journal of Documentation , 67 (1) 33 - 55. 10.1108/00220411111105443. Green open access

173219_Conceptual Misfits in Email-based Current Awareness Interaction - preprint.pdf
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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 was gathered using contextual inquiry observations with twenty-one 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 email 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 we derive a set of requirements 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.

Type: Article
Title: Conceptual Misfits in Email-based Current Awareness Interaction
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1108/00220411111105443
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00220411111105443
Language: English
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/173219
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