INFORMATION LOGISTICS

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Theoretical Background

In this section we will give an overview of the theoretical background to understand the concept information demand and related areas to this work. The intention of presenting theoretical background is to give the user a brief idea about the research going on in this area and to develop an understanding of the applied concepts. There are four main theoretical perspectives described here; Information Logistics, Information Demand, Information Demand Patterns and Information Filtering

Information Logistics

The work presented in this thesis contributes to the field of information logistics. The information logistics field focuses on improving the information flow by applying the logistic principles to information supply. The relevant fields which contribute to this area are context modelling, ontology engineering, semantic matching and information retrieval [2].
This field is developed in 1990’s and defined as follow:
“The main objective of Information Logistics is optimized information provision and information flow. This is based on demands with respect to the content, the time of delivery, the location, the presentation and the quality of information. The scope can be a single person, a target group, a machine/facility or any kind of networked organisation. The research field Information Logistics explores develops and implements concepts, methods, technologies and solutions for the above mentioned purpose.”[2]
This definition mentioned above depicts important dimension of information demand. They will be described briefly here.

Content

It represents the information which is going to be delivered to the user of the information. This information should be relevant to the user, it mean that it should be according to the need of the user [2][1].

Time

The information should be delivered to the user on the right time, the time on which user wants to use that information. If the information is delivered earlier then the user has to store it somewhere and then retrieve it on the time of use. It can cause extra burden for the user or sometimes it can have problem while retrieving information. The information delivered before the time can create information overflow for the user as the user is not in the need of that information on that time. The other is issue is information delivered late. In most cases the information arrived late, will have no use for the recipient. So to avoid these types of problems the information should be delivered just in time [2][1].

 Location

It indicates that the information should be delivered to the user according to location of the user. It means the information should be relevant to the user according to user location. The information should be formatted and distributed according to requirements placed by the location [2][1].

Representation

The information should be formatted according to the different communication media as they have different capabilities to represent the information [2].

Quality

The information which is sent to the user should subject to the quality criteria like accuracy, confidentiality, timeliness or cost [2]

Information Demand

Since the science Information Logistics (ILog) has started being investigated, the expression Information Demand has been discussed and many ILog experts have tried to give a complete definition and explanation for this term. In fact, before starting any other task, which is related to information demand, there should be a definition for it. Therefore we here present a definition from [6], which we found the most relevant to our work criteria:
Information Demand is the constantly changing need for current, accurate, and integrated information to support (business) activities, when ever and where ever it is needed.
Changing: Information need is directly related to the current status of the specific role and its responsibilities. Assuming that a role (and consequently its responsibilities) is not fixed , i.e. it changes, Information Need changes together with it.
Relevant: A piece of information as the first feature should have the relevance to the information demand. In fact, when the information is not relevant to the information need, it is out value.
Current: According to the feature changing, it should be considered that any information, which has not been provided with respect to this matter, is out of validity.
Accurate: accuracy, regardless of any other feature that the demanded information should have, is the first quality that is expected from it.
The definition talks about integrated information to support business activities. This means that it is needed to have a solid knowledge about the context in order to be aware about any change that might happen in it.
Whenever and wherever: It emphasises the importance of Time and Location in Information Logistics while demanding information. In the other words, it stresses that demand is dependent on timing and location.

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Information Demand Patterns

Patterns  have  been  using  in  several  fields  of  science,  such  as  computer  science  areas.
Different references have given different definitions about the term Pattern, e.g:
A pattern is the abstraction from a concrete form which keeps recurring in specific non-arbitrary contexts [7].
Or
Christopher Alexander: Each pattern describes a problem … and then describes the core of the solution …’ [8].
A literary format for capturing the wisdom and experience of expert designers, and communicating it to novices [9]
A successfully recurring “best practice” that has proven itself in the “trenches” [9].
Among all the presented definitions about pattern, Alexander’s definition is the most accepted one. His definition focuses on solution, whereas in computer science, the focus is on how to come up with problems, according to Martin Fowler’s definition:
An information demand pattern addresses a recurring information demand problem that arises for specific roles and work stations in an enterprise, and presents a solution to it [10].
Although the definition about this term differs from reference to reference, the counted features are mostly the same:

  • Patterns have root in the previous experiences in the same field.
  • Patterns validation is left to the user, i.e. he/she should assess the context and the available patterns and finds if the pattern is useful for the condition or not.
  • Patterns help in order to understand the condition and then tailor the offered solution for the problem under consideration.

In Information Demand Patterns like other computer science fields, Fowler’s definition about patterns is applied. In [10] the definition of information pattern is :
An information demand pattern addresses a recurring information demand problem that arises for specific roles and work situation in an enterprise, and presents a solution to it.
Similar to the other types of patterns, this kind has some fundamental parts, which are Organisational Context, Problems of the Role, Solution and The effect that Play in forming a solution. The solution part has three subparts: Information Demand on the Role, Quality Criteria and Timeline.
Depending on the purpose, information demand pattern might be designed for supporting one of Analysis of Problems and Situations, Design of Solutions or Architecture Design of Information Supply Solutions. Besides, the focus of the under development pattern can be on one of the scopes Single Role, Organisational Unit or Enterprise.

Information Filtering

Information Filtering is a term, which has a wide range of characteristics, which make it an exact process, with the purpose of handing information to people in need. Although Information Filtering is used in a wide range, it has not been clearly defined yet. Here it is tried to present a clear definition of Information Filtering, as well as its attributes [11].
In fact an Information Filtering system is a kind of information system, which has been designed with the purpose of manipulating semi-structured or unstructured information. As an example, we can assume a scientific paper. Such a material has the body text, tables and figures. Although it is possible to have definition for such a complex information piece, it is much more complex than a typical record in a database. In the first glance, when it is talked about unstructured data, it means a textual piece, but the fact is that unstructured information has a more general meaning. It might contain some other data types such as multimedia [11].
In many cases, people make mistake while describing an information filtering system and confuse it with an Information Retrieval (IR) system. In fact, IR is one of the subject areas, which are related to Information Filtering [11].
Information Filtering is in done based on the pictures the user has presented about his/her needs. With respect to these descriptions, when a stream of information comes to the system, the system starts removing data from this stream. The result will be the user will see what has been remaining. The ideas, which should be used to filter information according to user’s demands, can be formed as Profile. Whereas in IR the mechanism of work is data location from a data stream [11]

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1 INTRODUCTION 
1.1 BACKGROUND
1.2 PURPOSE
1.3 RESEARCH FOCUS
1.4 ASSUMPTIONS
1.5 DEMARCATION
1.6 TIME PLAN
1.7 WORKING PATH
2 RESEARCH METHOD 
2.1 SCIENTIFICMETHOD
2.2 INFORMANTS
2.3 DATACOLLECTION
3 THEORETICAL BACKGROUND 
3.1 INFORMATION LOGISTICS
3.2 INFORMATION DEMAND.
3.3 INFORMATION DEMAND PATTERNS
3.4 INFORMATION FILTERING
4 EMPIRICAL RESULTS & DISCUSSION 
4.1 INFORMATION NEEDS
4.2 INFORMATION NEEDS AND ASSOCIATED QUALIFIERS
4.3 RELATION BETWEEN INFORMATION NEEDS AND QUALIFIER
4.4 INTERVIEW RESULT TABLE
4.5 INFORMATION NEEDS WITH ASSOCIATED QUALIFIERS AND ACTIONS
4.6 INFORMATION SYSTEM CLASSIFICATION
4.7 OTHER SOURCES
4.8 CLASSIFICATION FOR ORGANISATIONALMEASURES
5 CONCLUSION 
6 REFERENCES
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