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From health to performance: Amateur runners’ personal health information management with activity tracking technology

Yuanyuan Feng (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
Denise E. Agosto (College of Computer and Informatics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 12 February 2019

Issue publication date: 10 May 2019




Building on theoretical foundation of personal information management (PIM) in information science, this paper seeks to understand how activity tracker users manage their personal health information generated by their devices and to elucidate future activity tracking technology in support of personal health information management (PHIM). This paper aims to discuss this issue.


The authors conducted a web survey study with a specific group of activity tracker users – amateur runners. This survey collected both quantitative and qualitative data on participants’ engagement with activity tracking technology, their PHIM practices with the information generated by the technology and how their needs were being met by their activity tracking technology use and PHIM practices.


Amateur runners surveyed in this study exhibit long-term engagement and frequent interaction with activity tracking technology. They also engage in PHIM practices by using a range of PHIM tools and performing various PHIM activities. Furthermore, they use activity tracking technology and engage in PHIM practices to meet various health/fitness-related needs and information needs, while some of these needs such as performance needs and overarching needs are only partially met or unmet.


This research discusses amateur runners as power users of activity tracking technology, provides timely updates to PIM and PHIM research in light of a new type of personal health information, and generates design considerations for future activity tracking technology in support of PHIM. It also brings together previously disparate research regarding everyday life PHIM in information science, human–computer interaction and health informatics.



Feng, Y. and Agosto, D.E. (2019), "From health to performance: Amateur runners’ personal health information management with activity tracking technology", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 71 No. 2, pp. 217-240.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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