View the PDF document An ethnographic study of technical support workers: why we didn't build a tech support digital library

Cunningham, S. J., Knowles, C. J., Reeves, N. (2001) Proc First ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL'01), Roanoke, Virginia, 189-198. ACM Press, New York.

In this paper we describe the results of an ethnographic study of the information behaviours of university technical support workers and their information needs. The study looked at how the group identified, located and used information from a variety of sources to solve problems arising in the course of their work. The results of one investigation are discussed in the context of the feasibility of developing a potential information base that could be used by all members of the group. Whilst a number of their requirements would easily be fulfilled by the use of a digital library, other requirements would not. The paper illustrate the limitations of a digital library with respect to the information behaviours of this group of subjects and focuses on why a digital library would not appear to be the ideal support tool for their work.