|Abstract (english)|| |
Given the huge production of information and knowledge in higher education institutions, it is necessary to dynamically adapt the up-to-date, relevance and accessibility of this information. The question may be whether there is a sufficient amount of relevant information and knowledge available within a higher education institution, which is available through different forms of transmission. The website of higher education provides a starting point for access, communication and dissemination of information to both the general public and to all those who make up the higher education system. It can be seen as an explicit academic space for information, hence its role has multiple meanings. As a starting point for all stakeholders in higher education, from students and teachers, through administration and management, to the general public. Diffusion, i.e. dissemination, knowledge and information, as its ultimate goal, to the benefit of users, is to find relevant and usable knowledge. In the context of an academic website, this refers, inter alia, to easy movement to a location, either through content categories or through in-house links, which ensures better user experience, longer retention of visitors and greater certainty in the identification of relevant institutional information. Given the openness of the academic website to a wide range of users, as well as the large amount of information content, the level of data structuring and the abstraction of content affects the quality of such a website. It is by exploring the structuring and abstraction of data on the school’s website whether and in what way diffusion has materialised. The conceptual framework of the Information Space model (Boisot,1995) is based on the assertion that structuring the data facilitates its diffusion, i.e. dissemination in the information space. The model is represented by a three-dimensional cube format where the dimensions of the information range from non-codified to codified; from specific to abstract; from non-diffuse to diffuse. This model is unique in that it has an in-built social learning cycle, which shows the dynamic flow of information in the space. The cycle is divided into six steps of information and knowledge management from searching, identification, codification, abstraction, diffusion, absorption and incorporation (Boisot,1995; Dalkir, 2011). The steps of the social learning cycle are included in this model so that they form a curve within a cube, where each dimension of the cube is linked to a specific cycle. The codification dimension is linked to the categorisation and classification of information. The abstraction dimension is linked to the creation of knowledge through analysis and understanding, in order to achieve generalisation. The diffusion dimension is linked to the dissemination of access to and transmission of previously abstracted information, where information and communication technologies aim to ensure, through access and transmission, the smooth flow of information. The six-step cycle presents in its integrity a way of knowledge and as such can be compared with the concept of information literacy, which, according to Lloyd, consists of a range of activities and skills relating to structured and embodied knowledge, and context-relevant ways of knowledge (Lloyd, 2017). The definition of the mechanism of organisation and dissemination of information, according to the described conceptual framework of the Information Space, offers key components of the quality of knowledge management at the higher education institution. This puts at the heart of the work the identification of the necessary prerequisites for the diffusion of information and knowledge for the needs of higher education institutions, as well as the transmission of the same to the staff of the institution. The aim of the work is to identify the mechanisms for diffusion of explicit and implicit information, by checking the necessary pre-conditions of identification, codification and abstraction. This determines the level of dissemination of information through the organisation depending on the level of abstraction and codification. Two research questions were asked which reveal how to build different information domains, as a pre-requisite for diffusion: 1. Determine the way and form of building information domains through personal and institutional levels, i.e. through formal and informal groupings. 2. Explore the diffusion of explicit and implicit information through the communication channels of formal and informal groups. The Information Space model contains two assumptions, which have not been verified in the context of the academic space so far. The first premiss is that a high level of codification and abstraction of information in the space provides greater diffusion, while the second the higher the target population of diffusion is weaker, i.e. information is less widespread in space. With regard to model assumptions and research questions, two alternative hypotheses have been drawn: 1. A high level of codification and abstraction of information ensures greater diffusion of information in the institution’s academic space. 2. The larger the target population, the weaker the information diffusion is. The theoretical part of the work uses a descriptive method to explain the basic starting points of work, and the elements relevant to the organisation of information and knowledge. The research section, using a double methodology through qualitative and quantitative analysis, asks for an answer to the research questions raised, i.e. whether there are prerequisites for building the information domain and their diffusion. The prerequisites relate to identification, codification and abstraction within four contexts: personal, institutional, formal and informal groups. The sample represents the academic space of public higher education institutions, where public higher education institutions have been selected to offer studies in the field of social and technical sciences in their programme, and there are seven in Croatia. By analysing the public space, the website of selected public universities is looking for answers to the questions of findability and accessibility of information, and how to organise the available content. In doing so, we also explore the quantity and quality of information relevant to employees. On the basis of the quantitative data collected from the public website, a qualitative evaluation of codification and abstraction has been carried out, as the basic prerequisites for diffusion of information. In addition, the diffusion itself, i.e. the distribution of information, was investigated. The data collection tool’s direct insight method investigated the structuring and distribution of content on the website. The data collection tool was a template to explore the structuring of the data and the diffusion of information. It first collected possible indicators from the analysis of previous surveys (Pinto, EtAll, 2007, 2009) and was adapted to the context of this survey. Those who best present the structuring and diffusion of information were selected. The results of the survey identified too many categories on initial foreigners, which lack sufficient abstraction, i.e. do not exclude each other, leading to inconsistencies and ambiguity, and reduce the intensity of diffusion. The codification criterion throughout the sample shall have a minimum achievement of 48.57 %, with the weakest classification characteristics of documents and a large number of subcategories. Each school in the sample has its own division although all of them are public, covering the same fields of science. When asking for information in more than one school, there may be misunderstanding, as the categories have multiple sub-categories, which are not located within the same category, thus also reducing ease of use. Information relating to the same subject matter (they may not be identical) is also found in several themes, leading to a general fragmentation and frustration of users in their desire to find complete information on a particular item. Boisot (1995) points out that the lower the amount of data required for the description of the subject matter, the higher the degree of encoding is, he considers that the codification creates perceptive and conceptual categories by facilitating the classification of phenomena. The abstraction criterion has a maximum intra-sample coverage of 69.14 %, mainly related to the substantive value of texts, comprehensibility as well as the use of consistent terminology. It is precisely the characteristics of the clarity of the text and the use of the same terms within the categories that contain the highest number of points for this criterion. It is generally accepted that a higher level of abstraction, where coding has its place, involves a deeper understanding and understanding of phenomena, phenomena and things (Boisot, 1995). The diffusion criterion should reflect the functionality of the two previous codification and abstraction criteria, i.e. the higher their values are, as a result, diffusion is better represented. Diffusion, as a result of the fulfilment of the first two criteria, lies around the middle, i.e. at 56 %, which corresponds to a ‘intermediately satisfactory’ rating. The overall codification, abstraction and diffusion result for the whole sample shows that the ratio of codification (48.6 %) and abstraction (69.1 %) has a difference of 20 % in favour of abstraction. We can therefore assume that the abstraction of web-based content according to this sample is about 20 % better achieved than codification. In view of this, the diffusion output is lower and is 55.7 % for the whole sample. We can hereby confirm the first assumption of model I-space: In view of the overall results of the analysis, we can confirm the first assumption set out in the I-space model, within the context of the higher schools covered by this sample, where the intensity of information diffusion in space depends on the intensity of codification and abstraction of information. A survey of academic staff aims to discover how staff find the information they need, whether they are able to identify them quickly and easily, where they find them, and ultimately how they organise knowledge at a personal level. The purpose of the questionnaire is therefore to explore the way in which information is identified and organised, communication channels and groups of information obtained, as well as the comprehensibility or abstractity of the information available to academic staff. Academics mainly search information via menu, which the previous analysis of the website has shown to be one of the potential problems in finding information, due to the high number of menus. Furthermore, most of them consider that the information is understandable and clearly distributed within menus and sub-menus, which may indicate a sufficiently clear categorisation, even though the very content of what appears in the sub-electors does not tie to or notice the name. The internet and the institution’s intranet of the place where information is most accessible, solutions such as cloud technologies are inaccessible to more respondents. The most used information is in the personal domain, including for example news, announcements and events, links to closed teaching content, such as LMS and intranet, and institution-related information. While most respondents consider that there is a need to agree on the categories and timing of information on the public website, which may be the result of some dissatisfaction with the current situation, on the other hand, more than half of respondents express neutrality or satisfaction about how the information is organised. Similarly, the logic of the distribution of information on the website does not correspond to what is organised by the private information themselves, and it would be possible and difficult to reach an agreement on the organisation of the content and information that most suit most. The analysis of the pages indicated too many menus, however, the results within this sample indicate that this number is within the eligibility of half of the surveyed. In the end, the overall presentation of the information on the public site is confirmed by a good and very good information organisation. The questionnaire ultimately reveals which communication channels are effective in a particular context of work, which can be seen as searching for and sharing information, and falls within the concept of diffusion. Indeed, if the information is well channelled by the sender, only searching and identification is part of that process, but also as the ultimate aim of the recipient. Given the characteristics of certain communication channels, it is possible to determine whether it is a narrower or broader population, and to assess whether the diffusion criteria are met. For the verification of the intensity of diffusion through the modalities of communication within the search activity and the sharing of official information, the following conclusions may be drawn for the resulting survey sample: In finding information for teaching activities, the most common form of communication implicitly-informal is to assume that there is a stronger diffusion of information. In finding information for research activities, the most common form of communication is explicit-formal, thus reducing diffusion within the population. In finding information for administrative activities, the most common form of communication is explicit-formal, thus reducing diffusion within the population. In sharing official information within the institution, the most common form of communication is explicit-formal, thus reducing diffusion within the population. We can hereby confirm the second assumption of model I-space: As the communication channels for requesting and sharing information indicate a greater use of explicit-formal forms, which are directed towards a wider population scope, we can confirm another alternative hypothesis indicating a weaker diffusion within this context and the pattern. As a recommendation, for the academic internet site, on the basis of the results and in accordance with the model settings, it is necessary to ensure that information is easily and rapidly retrieved through content categories or embedded search engines, i.e. that different and relevant types of information are available, through the use of quality content organisation. Documents must correspond to the category in which they are contained in their content and metadata, and it is desirable to avoid duplication of content. Better diffusion also enables the amount of information available through different forms and types of content, which are expected to be understandable, timely, accurate, well-formed and in line with users’ expectations. Future research can focus on other forms and stakeholders within the higher education area, such as universities and colleges, as well as stakeholders such as academic leaders, managers, administrators, externals from different agencies and ministries. Given that the communication channel of formal groups has proven to be an explicit and implicit link between different forms of communication, it is possible to further explore the form of formal groups, their incidence, modalities, impact and functionality of the college.. However, it is necessary to state the most common possible shortcomings in this type of analysis, such as inadequate selection of the number of components and insufficient clarity of data, that is subjective aspect regarding many differences in opinion. Through descriptive analysis, it was shown that the responses were scattered due to a scale of 7 responses and an insufficiently large sample. Generalizing on the basis of one sample, regardless of its size, is always problematic, therefore all conclusions are presented in the form of possible application in the context of the given sample. In this research, a purposive sample was used from selected public Croatian polytechnics that had a social and technical field in their curriculuim, therefore, in further research, the sample can include other polytechnics, as well as universities. Given that similar research, which includes all three activities of academics, has not been found outside of Croatia, the disadvantage is that a sufficiently good comparison is not possible with regard to the context of activity. This work confirmed the viability of the Information Space model in the higher education environment, according to which more and better-structured data accelerate the transmission and diffusion of information. To achieve a good data structure, it is necessary to increase codification and abstraction, which requires a better classification of documents and a reduction in the number of categories. On the basis of the results obtained, the online analysis of public space and surveyed teaching staff identified the applicability of the Information Space model in the context of the high school functional environment. A particular contribution to the extension of the current model lies in the identification of factors for the efficient flow of codified information for the purpose of employee efficiency.