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Personal information management practices: how scientists find and organize information

Abdus Sattar Chaudhry (Department of Information Studies, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait)
Bibi M. Alajmi (Department of Information Studies, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait)

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication

ISSN: 2514-9342

Article publication date: 8 November 2022




To take full advantage of the unprecedented availability of information on networks and digital systems, professionals need to be comfortable finding information relevant to the tasks at hand. This study was conducted at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research to investigate scientists’ personal information management (PIM) practices.


A qualitative research approach was used. Critical incidents were collected to probe information about PIM activities. The PIM-related critical incidents were gathered through extended conversations in the form of semi-structured interviews.


Extended conversations revealed that scientists were aware of the importance of information organization and management. They collected and received information from various sources regarding their tasks and saved part of the information for future use. Scientists organized saved information into named folders using the categories of projects, clients and planning. The files were updated by regular deletion and cleaning. Different strategies were used to retrieve the information. These included searching by keywords and file names, and browsing using the folder structure. Scientists have used various PIM tools. They reported that time pressure, information overload and anxiety due to information fragmentation were major challenges in PIM.


This study recommends a compilation of guidelines to assist scientists in the efficient management of personal information. As there are only a few studies currently available in the literature on scientists’ PIM, this study makes a valuable contribution to the relevant professional literature.



Funding: The researchers acknowledge with deep appreciation the funding of project OI01/18 by Kuwait University, Research Administration.


Chaudhry, A.S. and Alajmi, B.M. (2022), "Personal information management practices: how scientists find and organize information", Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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