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Personal Information Management Practices of Teachers

Anne R. Diekema and M. Whitney Olsen

ASIST 2011 Annual Meeting 
New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2011


Summary

Teaching is an information-rich profession with increasing demands on accountability and performance. Ideally, a well-managed information space provides teachers with relevant information when they need it, thus increasing their efficiency and efficacy and conceivably improving teaching quality. Little is known about teacher personal information management (PIM). This exploratory study employed interviews to establish a context to study teacher PIM. The study found that teachers draw information from a variety of physical and digital sources, and while they were aware of sources that had valuable information, especially digital libraries and their school library media centers, they rarely used them. Teachers used distinctive personal organization schemes to manage their information, sorting information alphabetically, topically, and by educational standards. This study introduced the observed phenomenon of "information heritage," where teachers were handed down information from their predecessors and then had to choose what to do with it and how to incorporate it into their PIM practices. Teachers store their information physically in cabinets, closets, and shelves, and digitally on their computer hard drives, school group drives, and using bookmarks. Ephemeral information created by teachers often has time management purposes.


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