The aim is to determine, in a business context, if tagging is a more effective method of discovering relevant information when compared to traditional hierarchical filing systems.
A five‐step interpretive hybrid approach of using both a focus group, questionnaires and SWOT analysis was used to test the proof of concept of tagging files compared to a traditional hierarchical filing system. The approach taken was chosen because of the difficulties and tradeoffs that had to be made between the number of champions and people available to take part in the research; the time that they could allow; and because transcription or recording of the participants was not permitted. The participants were encouraged to use the questionnaires and the SWOT analysis to record their thoughts anonymously whilst the focus groups allowed elaboration and discussion to help understand the true feelings and thoughts of the group collaboratively.
Traditional hierarchical filing systems can lead to the retrieval of irrelevant information, or to none at all, even though the information exists. The study shows that tagging could provide a cost‐effective solution by providing a better structured filing system that can help reduce duplication and the retrieval of irrelevant information.
One limitation of the study was the limited number of participants from just one organisation. Thus, generalisation of the results of this study to the wider population must be done with great care.
Organisations should evaluate the functionality of their chosen operating system and information store software in light of the potential benefits offered by tagging, and costly limitations of traditional file stores.
The paper contributes to the information retrieval and information overload literature by studying the effect tagging files has on an organisation. It provides an insight to the future of filing systems for management and triggers future empirical work into reducing information overload in the workplace.
Jackson, T. and Smith, S. (2012), "Retrieving relevant information: traditional file systems versus tagging", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 79-93. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410391211192170Download as .RIS
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