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Information as Thing

Overview of the article by Michael K. Buckland (1991)

Rubi Howlader

on 4 August 2014

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Transcript of Information as Thing

(Buckland, 1991)
Information as evidence
"Evidence, like information-as-thing, does not
anything actively." (Buckland, 1991)
What is information?
"In the sciences it has long been recognized that the
of information is not the literature of the sciences but observation of the relevant natural phenomena." (Brooks, 1979)
Information as Thing
1. Information-as-process
2. Information-as-knowledge
3. Information-as-thing
Types of information
"things that have been given".
Michael K. Buckland (1991)
The term is ambiguous but we can begin to understand it by looking at the three principle uses of the word "information":
Text and Documents:
text-bearing objects and other things that "convey some sort of communication, aesthetic, inspirational, instrumental, whatever".
like a dinosaur fossil.
What is a document?
The human interaction with this specimen makes it a document; processed for information purposes by a person.
are or can be phenomena that are informative. Evidence of events can be found in three ways:
1. Objects, such as in a crime scene.
2. Representations, such as a photo in a newspaper article.
3. Events that can be created/re-created, such as in a chemistry experiment.
Copies of Information and Representations
Copies: Type and Token
an identical copy of a "type" - massed produced consumer items.
Different type:
examples that are not the same as each other - different textbooks concerning the exact same subject-matter.
Interpretations and Summaries of Evidence
Such as, books.
"Virtually all books in the collections are based, or at least in part, on earlier evidence, both texts and other forms of information." (Buckland, 1991)
Information transformed to into another form.
Or, an article that is a review of a live music performance that you went to last night.
Information, Information Systems, Information Science
Anything can/might be information-as-thing.
Analysis of information-as-thing would cease to be valid if that information-as-thing were to change.
Information systems can deal
only with "information-as-thing" - stored as actual or virtual document in a collection.
"...representations of knowledge form a distinguishable subset of information-as-thing and so could, in principle, be used to identify and define another class of information systems in which the primary concern is based on the knowledge represented." (Buckland, 1991)
"Information" denotes knowledge imparted
"Information-as-thing" needs further academic investigation because information systems can deal directly with this form of information.
Information is situational.
As a whole, "information-as-thing" have numerous variations in characteristics and so not all of these
can be suitable for an information storage and retrieval system, but there is scope to using a
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