PPIG 2008 - 20th Annual Workshop
Observing Open Source Programmers’ Information Seeking
Khaironi Yatim Sharif, Jim Buckley
Abstract: Several authors have proposed information seeking as an appropriate perspective for studying software maintenance, and have characterized information seeking empirically in commercial software evolution settings. This paper addresses the parallel issue of information seeking in Open Source software evolution. Open Source software evolution exacerbates information-seeking problems, as team members are typically delocalized from the other members of their team.
This paper employs an analysis schema from our previous study (Sharif et.al 2008), generated through open-coding, to characterize information seeking in Open-Source, programmers’ mailing-lists, the medium they predominantly use for communication. A preliminary study using this schema had several interesting conclusions. Specifically, the analysis has shown that Open Source programmers rely somewhat on documentation, that many of their information seeking activities are process orientated and that their information seeking goals change over time.