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"Information Management: Tradition and Challenges ahead".
Introduction Modern society is said to be highly information dependent and almost all social activities nowadays are information, knowledge and learning oriented. Information Society is a term used for a society in which the creation, distribution, and manipulation of information has become the most significant economic and cultural activity. The information not only affects the way people interact 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 the situation. 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 production and 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 aspects and the role of librarians as knowledge and information managers becomes indispensable in this respect.
Definitions - Conceptual There are definitions for the concept Information management in different angles including the definitions in library bias. According to a simple straight forward definition the information management is; acquisition, recording, organizing, storage, dissemination, and retrieval of information (www.bnet.com, 2010). The Wikipedia define the 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 on the nature of information and its management by the function of that particular organization. The British Records Association contributes the definition as ‘A broader professional grouping for all activities and functions concerned with managing information, 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;
Information management in organization structures where information is treated as the base resource. These systems inputs, processes and outputs information and impacts the knowledge. Information management in organizational transactions where information is treated as the main supporting resource (media services, stock/security etc. exchanges, commodity markets etc.) inputs information, support processing a different product and outputs another information product or service. Information management in organizational operations where information is treated a factor of production (consumer and capital goods production cycles). Information is one of the input, process a different product using information and outputs a good or service.
Information as the base resource: This paper deals with the first category of information management where the information behaves as the base resource and the input and output of the institute or organization constitute information itself. Information is treated as main resource in library and information centres where information management is strictly adhered with a long established tradition in information acquisition, organization for information retrieval and information dissemination. According to the significance given to each information component, it automatically became a resource to be managed with systematic 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 information and the out put as the processed information blocks retrieved; see figure I below. These are the impact areas of information behaviour in case of the first category of information management that we hope to discuss here. Figure I –Behaviour of Information – Base model
Here 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 information scientists 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 retrieval
now become a special skill that should be propagated by learners as a learning to learn skill. 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 van wetenschappelijke literatuur.Met een voorwoord van L.J. van der Wolk in 1957. NoordHollandsche Uitgeversmij in Amsterdam). It is worth to account how the information management and the documentation process was settled on a clear platform of bibliographic control with the mammoth effort launched 1910 by Paul Otlet, the father of modern documentation systems and by Henry la Fontain. Figure III below shows the ‘mundaneum’, where 13 million of scientific information was documented on standard index slips in thousands of index drawers. He introduced the standard 3x5 inch index card (catalogue card) used in most libraries around 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. Otlet worked with organizing knowledge structures of information that could be considered as the earliest precedent of the World Wide Web. He spent his entire life trying to conceive search engines that could establish hyper-connections between all existing information. He dreamt of the creation of an infinite network of information that could contain and interconnect the whole body of human knowledge. This was the first artificial conception of 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 in Europe. Otlet wrote numerous essays on how to collect and organize the world’s knowledge, culminating in two books, the Traité de documentation (1934) and Monde: Essai d'universalisme (1935). He and Henri La Fontaine founded Institut International de Bibliographie in 1895 which later became the International Federation for Documentation and Information, FID.
Though the pragmatic approach was as such, an analytical approach clearing all the doubts eliminating confusions and setting boundaries to the concepts of documentation in information management was brought out by Prof. S.R. Ranganathan who is treated as father of modern library science after his article written to Libri, issue number one of volume number one,1950. Prof. Ranganathan sets the significance of defining the meaning of documentation, which is the very essence of information management, which emerged at a discussion in 1949 at Washington,D.C. “An examination of the Review of Documentation of the FID, the Journal of Decumentation of the ASLIB and American Documentation from MIT does not clarify the issue….. Therefore the only means to eliminate waste due to the nebulousness of this term is to come to am agreement about its definition and if possible to define it by enumeration” (Ranganathan, 1950) Thus the demarcation of active and passive documentation emerged accommodating documentation works and services. In the outset documentation is taken to be synonymous with compilation of bibliography, where one of the oldest advanced method of information management. Professor Ranganathan extracted the essence of the fact and emphasized the analysis of micro-units of thought embodied in papers and articles in periodical publications and occasional releases. He embraced stage where bibliography building is necessary, reference service undertaken by the library and the reproduction of information to generate a copy of any particular material needed by the user. With the displacement of the emphasis in publication from the book to the periodical the necessity arose for a continuous analysis of articles from periodicals particularly the researchers had to be informed speedily of the latest stage of research in their field. This kind of analysis was to be performed by the documentalists in libraries. With the advent of new area of expertise the library science had to be contributed with necessary clarifications. Th.P Loosjes in his work on documenation of scientific literature (Documentatie van wetens chappelijke literatuur,1957) had defined the documentation as a process of information analysis. He asserted that the documentation can be said to have two starting points; a) from the library b) from research. Figure III indicates the Loosjes’s Model of polarity of documentation. Fig: III
In the above model, following abbreviations are used to indicate the information flow.
MS MU LI DO RE = MANUSCRIPTS = MULTIPLICATION OF THE MATERIALS USING DIFERENT METHODS = DOCUMENT RECEIVE IN THE LIBRARY OR INFORMATION CENTRE = MATERIAL IS DOCUMENTED BY THE INFORMATION SCIENTISTS = RESEARCH STARTS-LITERATURE SEARCH BEGINS
When documentation is started from the library, it is the need for analysis of individual periodical articles. When the process is initiated form research, it is the necessity for delegation of literature searches. The Loosjes model is still valid as the base conceptual model of information management even for today though the information landscape had changed in its formats tremendously. Manuscripts are produced in different formats, accessible online before getting ‘indexed presence’ through a formal bibliographic control tool, information is captured by documentation products such as abstracts, indexes and bibliographies at its multiplication level, before coming into a library. Still the concepts of this model remain and above all, importance of documentation though in its novel formats and accessible media, had reached its heights with the need for instant information retrieval where dynamic information management is highly necessary. Hence the importance of documentation, be it active or passive, still has its worth even when a user access the web for instant information or knowledge. The user maybe unaware about the automatic indexing undertaken by a web software behind the user interface and may be thinking that he himself had got rid of old cumbersome methods of information retrieval for sure, but he is also unaware that the same documentation principles still underpins the modern information management and retrieval systems. It’s the same old wine that came in delicate vessels with lustre and glitter and the difference is, earlier the user can see what the bibliographer or indexer is doing and the process is visible, now the retrieval systems outputs the information blocks at the instant of retrieval without showing the complexity of the modern information processing systems. The traditions in information control The theoretical approach to information management thus was asserted by many scientists those who wanted to provide accessibility to plethora of literature that emerged with scientific and industrial discoveries time to time. When dealing with the tradition of information management, it has been established that the ancient Kemets (Egyptians) who were an African race with a long history, and has roots to information gathering and management about 6000 years ago. The chief library builder of ancient Kemet, and the most famous, was Rameses II (c. 1304-1237 B.C.), who had formed the first library motto, reads as "Medicine for the Soul". The tradition evolved through building up largest and first systematic library in Alexandria around 32 B.C. 5
During the same long centuries libraries of other kingdoms also sprang into life. Library of King Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, which contained more than 30,000 clay tablets (c. 625 BC), and the royal and academic libraries of Sumeria, Babylonia, Assyria, China, India and other early civilizations have great contributions to library history. Private literature collections maintained by royals, elites and merchants of trade also have added considerable weight to the information management tradition. Tools and instruments used to control or manage information too dates back to the ancient Kemetic concept of the seven liberal arts (grammer, rhetoric, logic, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music), the general mystery system of the four elements (fire, water, earth, air), four qualities, duality of opposites (hot-cold, wet-dry...) etc. Ptolemic and other ancient libraries too had similar treatment to the material gathered. Modern classifications systems have divisions in similar bases with much more developed subject analysis. Greeks used in their "book hall" a wall catalog in the Horus temple at Edfu, which lists 37 titles and dates from the time of Ptolemaios VIII and Euergetes II (177-116 B.C.). In Egypt papyrus rolls placed in clay jars or metal cylinders labeled with a few key words describing their content and via parchment scrolls divided by author, title, or major subject placed in bins or on shelves." (Gates, 1983). Pinakes ( Πίνακες "tables", plural of πίναξ) was the first library catalog, a catalog of books and scrolls. This library catalog was a set of indexes used at the Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, but only a few fragments of it have survived the fire that destroyed the great library in 48 B.C., which give an approximation of the organization of the whole. The library collection at the Library of Alexandria contained more than 120,000 scrolls, which were grouped together by subject matter and stored in bins. Each bin carried a label with painted tablets hung above the stored parchments. Pinakes was named after these tablets and are a set of books or scrolls of index lists. The bins gave bibliographical information for every scroll. A typical entry started with a title. It also provided the author's name, birthplace, his father's name, any teachers he trained under, and his educational background. It contained a brief biography of the author and a list of the author's publications. The entry had the first line of the work, a summary of its contents, the name of the author, and information about where the scroll came from. The existence of classification system at that time is also should be mentioned especially the comprehensive system designed by Callimacus that supported the Pinakes. His system divided works into six genres and five sections of prose. They were rhetoric, law, epic, tragedy, comedy, lyric poetry, history, medicine, mathematics, natural science and miscellanies. Each category was alphabetized by author. The Pinakes proved indispensable to librarians for centuries. It became a model to use all over the Mediterranean. Its influence can be traced to medieval times, even to the Arabic counterpart of the tenth century: Ibn al-Nadim's Al-Fihrist ("Index"). Variations on this
system were used in libraries until the late 1800s when Melvil Dewey developed the Dewey Decimal Classification in 1876, which is still in use today. There are other evidences too that can be brought forward from the early history relating to the presence of bibliographic guides to the information stores, not developed comprehensively as Pinakes though. The information management scenario had further taken its roots with the information seeking behavior at that time where royals and elite society searched the libraries and bookstores for different political, social and cultural purposes. Thus the bibliographic control to manage information and the information retrieval concept developed as the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. Evolution of information retrieval- concept and practice Information retrieval as a concept emerged with the evolution of information management Information retrieval is the science of searching for documents, for a particular block of information and for metadata about documents. Information retrieval has evolved through four phases: manual and mechanical devices; offline computing; online computing and vendor access; and distributed, networked, and mass computing (Griffith, 2002). First recorded systematic information retrieval was recorded in the second year of the reign of King Neferhotep (ca. 1788 B.C.) of Kemer, when the king asked to see the ancient writings of Atom in the temple of Heliopolis. His nobles, scribes of the hieroglyphics, cabinet of intellects, masters of all secrets, and librarians, agreed and examined the books in the temple library and thereafter decided to build a temple in honor of Osiris, based upon the information discovered (Metzger, 1980). Modern informaton retrieval history begins in 1880s with invention of Herman Hollerith’s recording of data on a machine readable medium. He used cards, key punches to process the 1890 US Census. In late 1940s, the US military confronted problems of indexing and retrieval of wartime scientific research documents which were captured from Germans. Venner Bush’s revolutionary article (1945), explicates a desire for a sort of collective memory machine with his concept of the memex that would make knowledge more accessible. Bush envisioned the ability to retrieve several articles or pictures on one screen, with the possibility of writing comments that could be stored and recalled together. He believed people would create links between related articles, thus mapping the thought process and path of each user and saving it for others to experience. Wikipedia is one example of how this vision has been realized, allowing users to link words to other related topics, while browser user history maps the trails of the various possible paths of interaction. In 1947 Hans Peter Luhn a research engineer at IBM since 1941, began work on a mechanized punch card-based system for searching chemical compounds. In 1950s Growing concern in the US for a "science gap" with the USSR motivated, encouraged funding and provided a backdrop for mechanized literature searching systems
(Allen Kent et al., 1962) and the invention of citation indexing by Dr. Eugene Garfield. Dr. Garfield was the founder of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), which was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Garfield is responsible for many innovative bibliographic products, including Current Contents, the Science Citation Index (SCI), and other citation indexes, the Journal Citation Reports, and Index Chemicus (Garfield, 2006). In 2007, he launched HistCite, a bibliometric analysis and visualization software package. The first automated information retrieval systems were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s most card based (punch card systems, edgenotched cards, peek-a-boo systems, zato cards etc.). By 1970 several different techniques had been shown to perform well on small text corpora such as the Cranfield collection (several thousand documents). Large-scale retrieval systems, such as the Lockheed Dialog system, came into use early in the 1970s. The term "information retrieval" appears to have been coined by Calvin Mooers in 1950. In 1951 Philip Bagley conducted the earliest experiment in computerized document retrieval in his master thesis at MIT. In 1955 Allen Kent and colleagues published a paper in American Documentation describing the performance measures of information retrieval; precision and recall measures, as well as detailing a "framework" for evaluating an IR systems. International Conference on Scientific Information held in Washington DC in 1958, included consideration of IR systems as a solution to problems identified. It is also important to note in 1959 Hans Peter Luhn published "Auto-encoding of documents for information retrieval." During the early 1960s Gerard Salton began work on IR at Harvard later moved to Cornell. In 1962 Cyril W. Cleverdon published early findings of the Cranfield studies, developing a model for IR system evaluation. In the same year Kent published Information Analysis and Retrieval. Joseph Becker and Robert M. Hayes published text on information retrieval ( Information storage and retrieval: tools, elements, theories) in 1963. The National Bureau of Standards sponsored a symposium titled "Statistical Association Methods for Mechanized Documentation." Several highly significant papers, including G. Salton's first published reference to the SMART system. National Library of Medicine developed MEDLARS Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System, the first major machine-readable database and batch-retrieval system. F. Wilfrid Lancaster completed evaluation studies of the MEDLARS system and published the first edition of his text on information retrieval. In 1968 Gerard Salton published Automatic Information Organization and Retrieval. John W. Sammon, Jr.'s RADC Tech report "Some Mathematics of Information Storage and Retrieval..." outlined the vector model. In 1969 Sammon's "A nonlinear mapping for data structure analysis" (IEEE Transactions on Computers) was the first proposal for visualization of a search interface to an IR system. In early 1970s first online systems—NLM's AIM-TWX, MEDLINE; Lockheed's Dialog; SDC's ORBIT were introduced and used bu research institutions. Theodor Nelson
promoting concept of hypertext, published in Computer Lib/Dream Machines. In 1971 Nicholas Jardine and Cornelis J. van Rijsbergen published (1971) "The use of hierarchic clustering in information retrieval", which articulated the "cluster hypothesis." 1975: Three highly influential publications by Salton fully articulated his vector processing framework and term discrimination model: 1979: C.J.Van Rijsbergen published Information Retrieval (1971). Heavy emphasis on probabilistic models. mid-1980s: Efforts to develop end-user versions of commercial IR systems. 1989: First World Wide Web proposals by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. In 1992, the US Department of Defense along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), cosponsored the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC) as part of the TIPSTER text program. The aim of this was to look into the information retrieval community by supplying the infrastructure that was needed for evaluation of text retrieval methodologies on a very large text collection. This catalyzed research on methods that scale to huge corpora. The introduction of web search engines has boosted the need for very large scale retrieval systems even further. In 1997 Publication of Korfhage's Information Storage and Retrieval with emphasis on visualization and multi-reference point systems. In late 1990s web based search engines came into existence and ever developing its user oriented or user friendly features for information retrieval till today. Challenges ahead Information management thus paved the way for efficient use of information in general organizations and promote systematic and effective information retrieval and literature survey in libraries. It is obvious that the library and information practice had been highly influenced by the social, political and technological advancements occurred during the historical era it passed. The fact is very clear when considering the historical landmarks mentioned above in case of bibliographic and information control methods adopted by the librarians time to time. These development not only introduced the methods of documentation or information control, but also paved the way to set bibliographic standards, introduce sophisticated tools, information control & documentation practices, legal protections and information ethics in the field of information management. The present information science landscape is highly shaped by the web technology hence its boundaries are hard to identify due to broad dispersion of every corner of it. The challenge is hard upon information scientists as custodians of books no longer could capture information generated elsewhere in unfathomable speed. Emerging technologies sometimes may not smart enough to capture the information generated at such a speed. New web applications that set interactivity with the user, like library 2.0 and web 2.0, creation of bibliographic families through semantic web, efficient meta data creation, archival and repository building software with web presence, e-learning applications, mobile technology library systems etc. had given the librarians an unavoidable challenge. The mobile based technology that had taken its strides over the learning sphere (MLearning) is also to be considered Ignoring these challenges can be depicted as harmless and interpreted as part and parcel of that particular socio- political system. Nevertheless
negligence of such challenges is the most disastrous factor which stops the library and information science developing on par with other sciences and with the social interactions. The fact is as such mismanagement of information questions its existence within the fast changing modern social structure where excuses are not allowed. In summary the articles tries to bring forth the evolution of information management and the conceptual approaches developed on par with the socio technological revolutions and evolution of the knowledge models. Challenges focusing information management that is envisaged by librarians would be specific to an information landscape, but the over ruling challenge at present is the web and the mobile technology. References Blum, Rudolf (translated from the German by Hans H. Wellish). Kallimachos: The Alexandrian Library and the Origins of Bibliography. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991. Davies, D.W. "Review of The Oldest Library Motto and Other Library Essays by Cora E. Lutz." in Journal of Library History 15 (1980) 3: 334-36. Edwards, Edward. Libraries and Founders of Libraries from Ancient Times to the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century. New York: Bert Franklin, 1865 (originally published, reprinted in 1968). Garfield E (2006). "The history and meaning of the journal impact factor". JAMA 295 (1): 90–3. Gates, Jean K. (1983) Guide to the Use of Libraries and Information Sources. New York: McGraw-Hill. Griffith, J and Donald, D.W. (2002) US Information Retrieval System Evolution and Evaluation. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 24 (3). 35 – 55pp. Information retrieval. (accessed on 2010). http://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/ Information _retrieval Kent, Allen (1962). Text book on mechanized information retrieval. 268p. Metzger, Philip A. "The Cover." Journal of Library History 15 (Spring 1980) 2: 210-221. Nicholas, J. and Van Rijsbergen C.J.(1971) The use of hierarchic clustering in information retrieval. Information Storage and Retrieval,7(5) December. pp.217– 240. Th. P. Loosjes (1973) On documentation of scientific literature. London. Butterworths. 187 p.