Personal information management pim
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Personal Information Management (PIM). Presentation by Heather C. Ware. What is Personal Information Management (PIM).

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Personal Information Management (PIM)

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Personal information management pim

Personal Information Management (PIM)

Presentation by Heather C. Ware

What is personal information management pim

What is Personal Information Management (PIM)

  • Personal Information Management (PIM) refers to both the practice and the study of the activities a person performs in order to acquire or create, store, organize, maintain, retrieve, use, and distribute the information needed to complete tasks (work-related or not) and fulfill various roles and responsibilities (for example, as parents, employee, friend, or community member). (Jones, 453)

Types of pim media

Types of PIM Media

  • E-mail

  • Documents (paper and electronic)

  • Web Bookmarks

  • Hand written notes (notebooks, post-its, etc…)

  • Files and folders

Requirements of a pim system

Requirements of a PIM System

  • They need to be flexible and adaptable

  • Each system will be unique because the users are deciding what information will be included

  • What might work for one person might not work for another

  • People do not necessarily file information in the same way they retrieve information

Pim filing

PIM Filing

  • People use attributes of the information to create names or titles to categorize information

  • It is cognitively difficult to categorize information

  • Context is remembered more often than keywords or titles

  • Computers and internet are creating easy access to more information that needs to be filed

  • Information that cannot be found has usually been misfiled

  • Browsing is the most common form of document retrieval

Original research

Original Research

  • Malone discovered that people organize their desks not just to re-find information but also for reminders

  • The cognitive difficulty of filing causes many users to create piles of information rather than filing

  • People with “messy” offices with a lot of piles find it more difficult to retrieve information than people with “neat” offices

New research

New Research

  • Electronic file systems should not be based on physical file systems due to different individual needs

  • Electronic PIM systems present their own challenges

  • Email and accessing multiple systems with different unsynchronized passwords is a user’s greatest PIM challenge

Phenomenon of email

Phenomenon of Email

  • Email contains highly varied information that can be difficult to categorize and file

  • Email files structures have little in common with folder file structures

  • There is an increased use and dependence on email and it is regarded as an essential communication tool

Phenomenon of email1

Phenomenon of Email

  • Email was created as an asynchronous means of communication

  • Email has been adapted as a PIM toolbut is causing information fragmentation because there is not support for these functions

  • Due to the amount of email received and due to it’s ephemeral nature it is often not filed

Information overload

Information Overload

  • Information overload happens when more information needs to be processed than possible

  • Email and internet are the number one contributors to information overload

  • Inboxes can contain hundreds of messages

  • Due to the sheer volume of inboxes crucial information can be overlooked

Information overload1

Information Overload

  • Items left in the inbox are readily accessible and available whereas filing can mean the message falls out of mind

  • There are three types of email filers

    • No-Filers: keep everything in their inbox and do not file

    • Spring-Cleaners: file occasionally when needed

    • Frequent Filers: File aggressively leaving little in the inboxes

Organizing files

Organizing Files

  • Users organize information so it can be retrieved at a later date

  • Information is filed according to the type of work they are doing and the information they are dealing with

  • File folders provide a visual representation of stored information

  • File folders are used as a make shift project manager

  • Folder hierarchies can be used across projects to create uniformity

Finding files

Finding Files

  • People re-find information to:

    • Resolve a problem

    • Answer a question

    • Achieve a specific goal

  • To use a search engine people have to remember details about the file but people are not proficient at remembering detail thus leading people to browse

Finding files1

Finding Files

  • Finding behaviors for email are different than behaviors for finding files

  • People generally know what information they need to help them solve a problem

  • The sort feature is used in email making it easier to search on contextual cues

  • The most frequently remembered email trait was the topic

Information scraps

Information Scraps

  • Information scraps are notes written on post-its, on corners of documents, put in pockets, or sent in email messages to ourselves

  • They are temporary storage, cognitive support, reminders, or recording of unusual data types

  • It is easier to jot down a person’s name and phone number on a post-it note than into a contact management system

Information scraps1

Information Scraps

  • The note to one’s self is the most common information scrap

  • Scraps are loosely filed if filed at all

  • They are difficult to handle in large quantities

  • They tend to be short in nature

Information scraps2

Information Scraps

  • People usually retain a good memory of the meaning of the scrap

  • Once the scrap task is completed the scrap is discarded

  • Scraps allow for the avoidance of up front decision making and allows for the postponing of categorization



  • Lifestreams provides a time-ordered stream of information

  • Stuff I’ve Seen (SIS) facilitates reuse by providing a unified index of information

  • Data Mountain allows users to place files where they want allowing for better recall

  • Google Desktop provides internet type searching across a users desktop



  • We have learned what personal information management is and how it applies to each of us individually as well as the strategies used to create, store, organize, maintain, retrieve, use and distribute our information

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