Folders as Workplaces and the Impact on Relationships Between Files

Hong Zhang, Michael Twidale

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


The current folder system on personal computers is not only a storage place for information organization and retrieval; it also serves as a set of potential workplaces for projects or tasks. We performed a qualitative study on two different participant groups in an academic institution. The study examined creation and use of folder content and structure. We found a continuum of folder types from homogeneous well-structured ones with minimal inter-file relationships to messier project folders with complicated relationships between files. Various derivative relationships between files and/or groups of files caused participants the most difficulties in finding and identifying files at re-access time. The ways that people cope and work around the limitations of the file system’s organization can be useful in understanding needs, but also maybe why there is some inertia to change.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameGSLIS Technical Report


  • Folders
  • personal information management


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