In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Information Management

  • Introduction

Communication Information Management
Daphne R. Raban
  • LAST REVIEWED: 30 August 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 August 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0129


Information is anything that can be encoded, either digitally, biologically, or physically, and that carries meaning. How, then, can anything so vague be managed? Management is the art of attaining goals through effective and efficient use of resources. Observing the free flow and overflow of information in this digital era, the thought of managing information can become daunting. This annotated bibliography organizes some of the current knowledge about information in a way that will provide a sound introduction to information as a resource that can be handled, generated, applied, and viewed as an asset—or, in short, a resource that can to some extent be managed. Section headings correspond to these managerial aspects. Definitions and Characteristics teases out information by pointing to historical and philosophical accounts, as well as to scholars of information science. Handling Existing Information covers how people actually handle information. including topics such as literacy, information seeking. and personal information management. Generating New Data and Information offers a variety of current forms of information production. Applying Information discusses the main managerial application of information, decision making, and related software and systems. Information Assets addresses the business and societal implications of information products and services. “Standing on the shoulders of giants” has become a cliché conveying the thought that current research is built on previous scientific findings. What are those “shoulders” if not written communications describing theory, method, outcomes, and significance? Information management has yet to find its place as a formal area of academic research. Researched and taught in many campuses, it rarely appears in classification schemes and seems to struggle for recognition. Possibly this stems from a blurring of terms such as “information management,” “information science,” and “information systems,” with terms such as “library science” or “knowledge management.” All are relevant terms that are alluded to here or expanded elsewhere in Oxford Bibliographies. Over the past twenty years, there has been a shift toward the academic organization of iSchools, or multidisciplinary departments studying various aspects of information rather than the traditional disciplinary approach. This work aims to reflect the inclusive approach to information. Since information is so different from other resources that are often managed, the art of managing information is to find the balance between taming information and setting it free. The challenge here is to provide structure while preserving the importance of the free flow of information. The collection of readings is selected from the vast literature on information management. It is selected with the best intention to display a comprehensive introduction to important concepts, reference lists, and prominent researchers.

Definitions and Characteristics

Information is not monolithic; it does not have a clear-cut definition. This section lays the ground for understanding what information is by considering a variety of definitions as well as historical and philosophical accounts. Later subsections progress into the foundations of information management by providing references about what information is, what documents are, and what the ethical considerations related to information management are. Having this conceptual basis will allow one to gain a more profound understanding of subsequent sections that are more practical. Beside the books included here, the reader should note the journal names of the chosen citations, as these are widely read periodicals in this area.

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