A Contextual Inquiry into Information Trails for Transactive Memory Systems
Abstract: This study uses a contextual inquiry approach to investigate the creation and use of information trails as a mechanism to design mobile transactive memory systems. Information trails are external records that are created as an extension of personalized memory, with the intent to later access and retrieve information. In particular, the study examines the way in which students in different academic courses obtain, use, and share their notes, both during and after completion of a course. Twenty students in STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) courses and twenty in non-STEM courses were interviewed and had a sample of their notes examined. The study found four major factors related to note use: the personal nature of notes, the accessibility of material, formatting issues, and personal habits, all of which contribute to current note-taking practices. Findings are discussed in the context of developing a transactive memory system to store and retrieve information trails.