User influences on knowledge structuring on the Internet: literature survey and case study of a global network of water professionals

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This paper presents a review of the literature on information retrieval and knowledge structuring on the Internet and how end-user factors influence these processes. The review demonstrated that variations in users` professional and educational backgrounds are likely to have an important influence on Internet-based knowledge acquisition and structuring. A good knowledge of users is therefore necessary for the successful design of an on-line information service, particularly for multidisciplinary domains such as the water sector which cover a wide range of subject disciplines, and scientific, technological and industrial domains. The implications of the variety of individuals involved in the water sector for structuring information/knowledge on the Internet is demonstrated by analysing the International Water Association`s membership database as a function of several variables, including title, job function, organisation type, nationality and fields of interest. The database revealed a wide range of cultural and professional backgrounds, as well as diverse interests between different organisations. As well as having a good understanding of their backgrounds and interests, analysis of how the different users` use the Internet, for example, by looking at web server log files, is recommended for the successful design of web based information/knowledge sharing structures for the water sector.
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Butcher, J
Jeffrey, P
Stuetz, Richard
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty