Just Talk to Me: A Field Study of Expertise Location

TitleJust Talk to Me: A Field Study of Expertise Location
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsMcDonald, DW, Ackerman, MS
Conference NameProceedings of the 1998 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW'98)
Date Published11/1998
Keywordsbug reporting, CMC, computer mediated communications, expert locators, expertise finding, expertise location, expertise networks, expertise sharing, information seeking, knowledge networks, knowledge sharing

Everyday, people in organizations must solve their problems to get their work accomplished. To do so, they often must find others with knowledge and information. Systems that assist users with finding such expertise are increasingly interesting to organizations and scientific communities. But, as we begin to design and construct such systems, it is important to determine what we are attempting to augment. Accordingly, we conducted a five-month field study of a medium-sized software firm. We found the participants use complex, iterative behaviors to minimize the number of possible expertise sources, while at the same time, provide a high possibility of garnering the necessary expertise. We briefly consider the design implications of the identification, selection, and escalation behaviors found during our field study.