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Information-Driven Business: How to Manage Data and Information for Maximum Advantage by Robert Hillard

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Chapter 2. The Language of Information

The study of any subject has to start with an introduction to the vernacular of the discipline. In chemistry, this means understanding the periodic table, in mathematics the language of algebra, in accounting it means understanding the meaning of price-to-earnings ratios, amortization, depreciation, and so on.

In the discipline of information management there are still many different ways of describing information, including the meaning of terms like metadata and document. Because much of the field has developed rapidly in response to new technologies, there has been no opportunity for a consensus on definitions, terms, and language to develop.

One of the more succinct definitions of information has been suggested by Robert M. Losee[3] and will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 6 :

Information is produced by all processes and it is the values of characteristics in the processes' output that are information.

Without a common definition, practitioners who work with information in different disciplines as diverse as computer science, communications, and library management don't have a linguistic foundation to support important discussions around the content that overlaps all of their areas of expertise. Over time, many aspects of the language associated with information management need to be standardized by professional consensus.

The current lack of a common language is a significant issue faced by the information management profession. Because ...

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