Designing personal information management systems for creative practitioners

Coughlan, Tim and Johnson, Peter (2009). Designing personal information management systems for creative practitioners. Journal of Digital Information, 10(5)



This paper first explores information management by creative practitioners through a review of research related to the area. Two studies are then used to explore this area from different viewpoints. Topics of interest include the types of information that are commonly managed, the reasons for creating representations, the processes of finding and interacting with materials and the tools used. This understanding is then applied and extended through the design and evaluation of an application inspired by the common use of scrapbooks by practitioners. Creative practice generally involves the retention, development and communication of ideas, inspirational materials and structures of associations represented in a range of media over long periods of time. Extensive variations in behaviours between individuals are seen as a natural part of creative processes. Through the studies and the example of the Associative Scrapbook, we argue that support for PIM in creative practice should integrate work on specific task instances with the long-term collection and reuse of information related to the practitioners’ interests. Whilst there are needs that are specific for particular types of creative tasks, the studies and initial evaluations of the prototype provide evidence to suggest that creative PIM needs and processes show similarities across domains.

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