Sunday, July 30, 2006

Corporate Engineers Information Seeking Behavior

The paper written by Britt Mueller, Greg Sorini and Elizabeth Grossman looks at Qualcomm users and it is one of best that I have seen in explaining corporate engineers information seeking behavior. I think everyone who is trying to develop products or serve corporate engineering market should read it.

Thanks to Jay Bhatt from Drexel University, for posting the article at KnowledgeSpeak Blog which they introduced recently.

Here are five key behaviors that the authors have identified. (all quoted from the paper)

  • Engineers generally like to help themselves to information. They will also use colleagues as a resource, but often rely on the library as a last resort or not at all.
  • Books are critical to this population. They are comfortable with and use electronic resources, but also have a strong preference for accessing what can be considered more traditional library resources such as books and other physical items.
  • This population often has a cycle for information gathering where the need for information changes drastically depending on the development phase of the project. They can have an extensive need for information during times of exploration and understanding on projects, but at other times, when their “heads are down” in terms of actual product development, they may seek no information at all.
  • Information seeking from this group is generally in response to very specific problems or projects. They often seek answers to immediate problems, and need information quickly.
  • Proximity of services and facilities is important. When interviewed, most engineers wanted a physical library or reading room in their specific location. We also observed that when engineers were reminded or informed of services, they used them

1 comment:

Jay Bhatt said...

Thanks, Rafael, for linking my blog entry from KnowledgeSpeak blog. I was wondering if any corporate engineers reading eithe Rafael's or my engineering blog can add their comments about how they are finding information they need. Importantly, I am also interested in getting some insights into access to various electronic databases suvh as ei compendex and INSPEC that they had access while in academic setting but do not when they are in a corporate setting. What do they to locate this information not available in their corporate environment? How is the production and research impacted because of this situation? Is it a problem or not a problem? RSS feeds - who uses them? Are they finding them useful? I will really appreciate all your feedback.

See also our new engineering blog at