Oct 28, 2003

Information as Thing - Michael Buckland (1991)

Information as thing by Michael Buckland,
School of Information Management and Systems,
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-4600
buckland@sims.berkeley.edu

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".


About the Author: Michael Buckland

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