An approach to an understanding of the fields of interest of individuals to be served and of the organisation as a whole could begin by acquiring background information about the organisation / mission / project. This would involve finding answers to the following questions:
• What are the goals' or objectives of the organisation / mission I project Statements answering this question may be found in some "internal" document, such as memorandum of association, charter of incorporation, policy statement, etc.
• What are the fields of activity and the scope of each discernible activity of the persons involved?
Such information is usually given in some "internal" documents or in organisational and functional charts.
• What information do they use or need in order to perform efficiently their respective tasks? Such information may have to be gathered through interviews of, questionnaires to be filled up by, and/or potential users.
• Where do they now get the information?
Such information may have to be gathered through interviews, questionnaires, etc.
• Through what channels and media do they now get the information? Information on the channels and media may have to be gathered through and observation of information flow patterns, a study of organisational charts, interviewing and a questionnaire based survey of potential users.
• Is the information available adequate, timely, reliable and accessible at reasonable cost?
Such information has to be obtained by survey, through interviews and questionnaires.
• Is there among the users an interest in or awareness of the value of information and of an information centre?
• Can the existing information centre be modified for a better information service or is a new information centre (IC) needed?
This, of course, is the starting point for planning the system.