Paper 'work' and electronic files: Defending professional practice

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Title: Paper 'work' and electronic files: Defending professional practice
Authors: Komito, Lee
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Date: 1-Dec-1998
Online since: 2019-05-01T10:57:18Z
Abstract: Paper documents are often described as 'information rich', in contrast with electronic documents. This ethnographic study examines Lotus NOTES in a sub-section of the Irish civil service, with particular reference to the concurrent use of electronic and paper documents. The sub-section examines disagreements with regard to claims by Irish citizens for particular government benefits. The study describes how meta-information contained in paper case files is perceived as necessary for the work of the organization, thus restricting the use of electronic case files in NOTES as a shared information system. However, this reliance on paper files derives not only from the information rich properties of paper documents, but also from the desire of some workers to protect their occupational status by defining, as necessary for their job, information which is only available in paper documents and which only they can interpret. This dependence on paper documents also reduces the amount of information that can be shared within the organization. This paper suggests that, only if the perceived threat posed by the information system were reduced in some way would user innovations in work practices and greater sharing of information within the organization become possible.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer
Journal: Journal of Information Technology
Volume: 13
Issue: 4
Start page: 235
End page: 246
Copyright (published version): 1998 The Association for Information Technology Trust
Keywords: Electronic documentsPaper documentsInformation systemsInformation sharing
DOI: 10.1057/jit.1998.3
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Information and Communication Studies Research Collection

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