Dealing with user generated content: Adjusting Information managers' source selection and information quality assessment
The development of online content creation tools and social software is not confined to private circles or leisure activities. Rather, we argue that it has a significant impact on corporate environment. For a long time, internet has been seen as a challenging workspace for Corporate Communication and Information Management purposes. It enables a growing number of people to publish, share and relay information (facts, opinions or contacts) on any subject they see fit. A number of authors have studied the way Information Managers face new opportunities and risks created by those new flows of information, especially regarding sources selection and information processing. The recent emergence of user-friendly content creation tools and networking facilities, consubstantial with web 2.0, has increased that phenomenon, opening the discussion to a new range of information sources: the ordinary users/clients/consumers. This doctoral research aims to study the impact of new types of online information sources on the information quality evaluation methods and the source selection process within the information management activities. This study focuses specifically on corporate information management that we define as the ‘individual or collective set of actions aiming at grasping information coming from its environment, in order to anticipate a given situation or a broader trend, at a given time, and to react to take benefits of it, after an appropriate processing and relay. Those actions are realised by information mediation (gathering, processing, distribution, etc.) and differ from their main goal: threats and opportunities detection, help on the decision-making process and influence actions’. The first phase consists of a theoretical confrontation of traditional evaluation and selection methods with the evolution inducted by the internet. We argue that concepts and definitions usually related to information use and IM practices are challenged by the trend known as web 2.0 and its typical formats such as weblogs, wikis, podcasts, file sharing and social networks platforms (Kolbitsch and Maurer, 2006). The theoretical part will try to re-evaluate the professionals’ criteria when faced with those formats. This step aims to update the theoretical framework of IM, regarding source selection and information quality. The second phase will then take the form of an empirical confrontation of the newly-built framework. A field research will then test its actual relevance to IM professionals and will be adjusted to cope with the observed realities.