Heisig, P. et al. (2010) Exploring knowledge and information needs in engineering from the past and for the future – results from a survey, Design Studies, 31 (5), pp. 499-532

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Paper looks at the knowledge and information needs on engineers and managers throughout the whole product life-cycle. Online survey was used to collect data, and 137 responses were received. Altogether 69 categories emerged from current knowledge and information needs and future needs. 58 categories were expected to be the same now and in the future. The most important categories were rationale, component/part, changes/modifications, and drawing. 42.5 % of the respondents thought that the needs would stay the same. However, some categories rose above the others in the future: rationale, changes/modifications (which were the same as before), and difficulties/problems/issues. Two categories emegred in future needs (mentioned in previous literature): legislation and technical publication.

Comparison to previous literature showed 3 categories that were in 6/7 studies that were compared: component/part, requirements,test.

The respondents yielded in their answers some requirements for support system: single place for all information, visual aids to help in navigation, multi-format importing, and applications to support traceability.

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