The PIM of Personal Information Management

The results from a research project on Personal Information Management (PIM) conducted at the Department of ALM, Uppsala University have been out in the journal Information Research for some time. The article Continuum thinking and the contexts of personal information management is pulling together the results of three case studies conducted on different aspects of PIM and proposes how the theory of records continuum developed in the context of Australian archival theory and archival science research could inform the management of personal information.

The abstract can be found below and the full-text of the open access article is available at the Information Research website.

Introduction. Recent personal information management literature has underlined the significance of the contextuality of personal information and its use. The present article discusses the applicability of the records continuum model and its generalisation, continuum thinking, as a theoretical framework for explicating the overlap and evolution of the diverse contexts of personal information and their implications for personal information management practices.

Method. This article is based on three empirical case studies on 1) the personal information management practices of sound artists (qualitative semi-structured interviews), 2) graduate students' management of scholarly articles (web survey of Swedish students) and 3) the management of personal archives at Swedish archival institutions (qualitative semi-structured interviews). Analysis. The empirical material was analysed using the constant comparative method (case 1), non-parametric statistical tests including Friedman's test, Kruskal-Wallis analysis, Wilcoxon-Signed Rank test, Mann-Whitney-U test and Chi-square test in SPSS version 20.0 (case 2), and thematic analysis (case 3).

Results. The continuum approach and the conceptualisation of diverse contextual aspects of personal information management as axes on a Giddensian spatio-temporal continuum can help to understand the contextual changes and continuities of personal information management and use.

Conclusions. The records continuum model provides a useful theoretical basis for explicating personal information management as a process of Giddensian time-space structuration similarly to how Upward argued that the theory is useful in the context of explicating the record-keeping process and, in more general terms, providing a framework for theorising particular types of document-centric management processes.

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