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Information Management: Tradition and Challenges ahead

Information Management: Tradition and Challenges ahead

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Published by Swarni Weerasooriya

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Swarni Weerasooriya on Jan 28, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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"Information Management: Tradition and Challenges ahead".
Modern society is said to be highly information dependent and almost all social activitiesnowadays are information, knowledge and learning oriented. Information Society is a term usedfor a society in which the creation, distribution, and manipulation of information has become themost significant economic and cultural activity. The information not only affects the way peopleinteract but it also insists the traditional organizational structures to be more flexible, more participatory and more decentralized. With modern information access systems the lifestyle of  people in the present information society, wherever they are, has turned at many sharp corners,making the life sophisticated in urban areas and complicated in rural areas (Seneviratne, 2008).The social man as a part of this society cannot avoid this revolution but needs to survive thesituation. Thus information is indispensable in the development of any society, be it economic,social, political or cultural (Hughes, 1991). Information is also treated as a factor of productionand obtaining of which, whenever necessary, is a right of a citizen of any social status (Mchombu,1996). In this outset, managing this valuable asset, is treated highly important in all social aspectsand the role of librarians as knowledge and information managers becomes indispensable in thisrespect.
Definitions - Conceptual
There are definitions for the concept Information management in different anglesincluding the definitions in library bias. According to a simple straight forward definitionthe information management is; acquisition, recording, organizing, storage,dissemination, and retrieval of information (www.bnet.com, 2010). The Wikipedia definethe concept as; Information management (IM) is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_management,2010 ).
Definitions – Functional
The concept is treated functionally by different organizations and institutes depending onthe nature of information and its management by the function of that particulaorganization. The British Records Association contributes the definition as ‘A broader  professional grouping for all activities and functions concerned with managinginformation, regardless of its nature or medium’(www.britishrecordsassociation.org.uk/ 2010).
Information Management Structures
According to the ‘behavior of information’ as recognized in modern organizations,information management can be divided broadly into three categories;1
Information management in organization structures where information is treatedas the base resource. These systems inputs, processes and outputs informationand impacts the knowledge.
Information management in organizational transactions where information istreated as the main supporting resource (media services, stock/security etc.exchanges, commodity markets etc.) inputs information, support processing adifferent product and outputs another information product or service.
Information management in organizational operations where information istreated a factor of production (consumer and capital goods production cycles).Information is one of the input, process a different product using information andoutputs a good or service.
Information as the base resource:
This paper deals with the first category of information management where theinformation behaves as the base resource and the input and output of the institute or organization constitute information itself. Information is treated as main resource inlibrary and information centres where information management is strictly adhered with along established tradition in information acquisition, organization for informationretrieval and information dissemination. According to the significance given to eachinformation component, it automatically became a resource to be managed withsystematic methods and tools with multiplication of manuscript production that used printing technology, with information explosion and with the emergence of ICTs.This base model depicts input as the raw information, base as the organized informationand the out put as the processed information blocks retrieved; see figure I below. Theseare the impact areas of information behaviour in case of the first category of informationmanagement that we hope to discuss here.Figure I –Behaviour of Information – Base modelHere the raw information entered or acquired into the system in material form in any possible kind of media. The information is processed and documented by the informationscientists as a routine function which paves the way to originate documentation products.The information processed now ready for deployment to delegate literature survey or literature search which activates the information retrieval and the information retrieval2
now become a special skill that should be propagated by learners as a learning to learnskill. This process is the base for the documentation theories developed by both Prof. S.R.Ranganathan (in his exemplary analysis on Documentation in 1949) and Dr. Th. P.Loosjes (in his work on documentation of scientific literature, Documentatie vanwetenschappelijke literatuur 
Met een voorwoord van L.J. van der Wolk in 1957
  Noord-Hollandsche UitgeversmijinAmsterdam). It is worth to account how the information management and the documentation processwas settled on a clear platform of bibliographic control with the mammoth effortlaunched 1910 by Paul Otlet, the father of modern documentation systems and by Henryla Fontain. Figure III below shows the ‘mundaneum’, where 13 million of scientificinformation was documented on standard index slips in thousands of index drawers. Heintroduced the standard 3x5 inch index card (catalogue card) used in most librariesaround the world to date.Figure II -
Fig. II – Index card processing room & Telegraph Room at Mundaneum
Born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1868 he is considered as first contributor to the creation of the networked knowledge towards systematic control of scientific informaton. Otletworked with organizing knowledge structures of information that could be considered asthe earliest precedent of the World Wide Web. He spent his entire life trying to conceivesearch engines that could establish hyper-connections between all existing information.He dreamt of the creation of an infinite network of information that could contain andinterconnect the whole body of human knowledge. This was the first artificial conceptionof a hyperlink model of infogathering infosharing. He envisioned a system of information access similar to the semantic web.He created the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) and introduced the standard inEurope. Otlet wrote numerous essays on how to collect and organize the world’sknowledge, culminating in two books, the
Traité de documentation (1934)
Monde: Essai d'universalisme
(1935). He and Henri La Fontaine founded
 Institut International de Bibliographie
in 1895 which later became
the International Federation fo Documentation and Information,

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