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Information as thing

Michael K. Buckland

Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 1991, vol. 42, issue 5, 351-360

Abstract: Three meanings of “information” are distinguished: “Information‐as‐process”; “information‐as‐knowledge”; and “information‐as‐thing,” the attributive use of “information” to denote things regarded as informative. The nature and characteristics of “information‐as‐thing” are discussed, using an indirect approach (“What things are informative?”). Varieties of “information‐as‐thing” include data, text, documents, objects, and events. On this view “information” includes but extends beyond communication. Whatever information storage and retrieval systems store and retrieve is necessarily “information‐as‐thing.” These three meanings of “information,” along with “information processing,” offer a basis for classifying disparate information‐related activities (e.g., rhetoric, bibliographic retrieval, statistical analysis) and, thereby, suggest a topography for “information science.” © 1991 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Date: 1991
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Handle: RePEc:bla:jamest:v:42:y:1991:i:5:p:351-360