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What Information Do Engineers Seek?


Whether tasked with developing new products, updating and extending existing products or streamlining production, there is a lot of information that engineers need in order:engineers seek information

  • Develop knowledge and expertise
  • Obtain the latest technology and market trends
  • Solve problems
  • Develop solutions

Research via formal and informal channels and across internal and external knowledge sources – is a big part of the day-to-day work of engineers and scientists, with some studies saying knowledge workers spend between one-quarter and one-third of their work week gathering and analyzing information.[i]

Over the last several years, the array and volume of information resources available to innovation and knowledge workers has increased considerably.   IDC predicts that between 2009 and 2020 digital data will grow 44 times to 35ZB. The abundance of information available has brought new challenges and problems including questions around the relevance, validity and reliability of information accessed.

What kind of information are engineers looking for? 

Engineers and scientists need easy, timely and reliable access to:

  • technical reports
  • product datasheets
  • reference designs
  • email correspondence
  • personal archives
  • presentations
  • journals
  • standards
  • supplier information
  • field studies
  • feasibility studies
  • intranets
  • repositories
  • patent literature
  • digital libraries
  • industry association documents
  • voice of the customer surveys
  • competitors’ websites
  • specialized external content
  • and more

The list goes on and on. And, the preponderance of information comes as unstructured data, in hundreds of file formats and across dozens of languages.

So, knowledge workers, what sources of information do you typically seek? How do you go about finding information? And how satisfied are you with your current methods of accessing and analyzing information?


[i] Outsell. Understanding Scientists’ and Engineers’ Information Use Habits, Preferences, and Satisfaction