Re: Information -- a working definition?

Subject: Re: Information -- a working definition?
From: Damien Braniff <Damien -dot- Braniff -at- asg -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2010 09:44:00 +0100

This is from a presentation (several years ago) on information design, based on article(s) by Saul Carliner - may or may not help! :-)

The word information derives from the Latin "informare" which means "to put into form". Informing therefore carries the sense of "imparting learning" or, more generally, "to tell (one) of something". Information therefore refers to the action of informing or to that which is told. Information has been defined as being "meaningful, it has a subject, it is intelligence or instruction about something or someone".

But why information? Why not knowledge, after all we now have "knowledge managers"?

Generally speaking, knowledge and information are split in three ways:

1. Multiplicity - information is seen as fragmented, piecemeal while knowledge is structured and coherent.
2. Temporal - information is timely, transitory, even ephemeral while knowledge is seen as enduring.
3. Spatial - information is a "flow" while knowledge is a stock, specifically located.

In essence, information, as it is used today, is conceived as a process whereas knowledge is a state. At the most basic level information can be equated to raw data and, as such, has 2 main functions:

1. As an input into a process (manufacturing, economic etc).
2. As an output that is sold as a commodity in its own right (info sold on customers to other retailers etc).

Damien Braniff
Sr. Technical Writer
damienb -at- asg -dot- com
Waterfront PLaza
8, Lagan Bank Road
Belfast, N. Ireland
Tel: +44 (0) 28.9072.3124
Fax: +44 (0) 28.9072.3324
ASG | Beyond BSMâ
ï Â Please consider the environment before printing this email.


Gain access to everything you need to create and publish documentation,
manuals, and other information through multiple channels. Choose
authoring (and import) as well as virtually any output you may need.

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:


Previous by Author: Re: Seeking tool recommendations
Next by Author: RE: Tuesday Humor: User-Hostile Software
Previous by Thread: Re: Information -- a working definition?
Next by Thread: Re: Information -- a working definition?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads