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Abstract

The problem of the information society today is that knowledge workers are overwhelmed by the amount of information they get. This creates the need of a filter: the possibility to find relevant information in an easy and systematic way. In fact, working at a knowledge intensive workplace and retrieving information is a kind of learning – informal learning – which takes place at daily work. This type of learning includes reading documents and digital snippets, asking questions and searching for the help of other colleagues.

This paper investigates how people at knowledge intensive workplaces can be supported through a graphical integration of existing information in a contextualized way to fulfill their given work task. We present research on software that visualizes the information of knowledge workers, tasks, digital resources, people and the relations between them. In addition context information is taken to enrich the output to provide an intuitive and appropriate tool for knowledge workers. As the visualization tool we used the TopicMap Viewer to visualize the data and context information together. We will show all the necessary steps to offer these contextualized information in a supporting visualization.

To verify the usefulness of our approach, we did a quantitative and qualitative user study to see if contextualized information visualization is helpful to knowledge workers for a specific scenario. Therefore we analyzed how beginners or new employees benefit from by such a tool. The results clearly show the advantages of our solution. Contextualized visualization substantially boosts efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge workers, because of time savings and avoidance of failures.

Index Terms—Context Awareness, Electronic Workplace, Informal E-Learning, Knowledge-intensive Work.