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Personal information organization in everyday life: modeling the process

Kyong Eun Oh (School of Library and Information Science, Simmons University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 28 February 2019

Issue publication date: 3 May 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate and model the process of organizing personal information in digital form in the context of everyday life.


A background survey, a diary study and two interviews were conducted with each of the 18 participants, who are information users in social science academic environments. In particular, the personal information organization process (PIOP) model was developed by tracking and analyzing 143 organization events.


The PIOP model consists of six stages: initiation, identification, temporary categorization, examination/comparison, selection/modification/creation and categorization. This model also shows actions, thoughts and decisions involved in the organization process, and 19 factors that impact the process.


This study introduces a new model that specifically shows the process of organizing personal information. This study advances our understanding of the process and informs the design and development of systems and applications that support personal information management.



The author gratefully acknowledges Dr Nicholas J. Belkin for his insightful guidance and valuable comments throughout this research project.


Oh, K.E. (2019), "Personal information organization in everyday life: modeling the process", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 75 No. 3, pp. 667-691.



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