Unit : 1 Data, Information and Knowledge

1) Give at least three reasons as to why information has acquired an importance and significance today.

The three reasons why information has acquired a special importance and significance today are:

  1. The realisation and recognition that a good mix of Scientific, Technical and Societal Information is vital to socio-economic development.
  2. The demand for information from a lay person or a sophisticated scholar has phenomenally increased today on account of various pressures such as population, social differentiation, technological innovation, education and research, use of leisure, human longevity of life, etc.
  3. Information has become the most crucial weapon for acquisition of economic and political power.

2) Describe the factors contributing to the enhancement of the value of information.
The factor contributing to the enhancement of the value of information are:

  1. Research and Development: The output of various research and development activities results in generation of new information and knowledge. It is being increasingly realised that information and knowledge and their application for transformation of non-resources into value-added economic resources are the real driving power for human material progress.
  2. Fusion of Science and Technology: Fusion of science and technology has begun to transform the character of technology itself. technology has become the instrumental mode of rational action and their routine application to many situations is becoming predominant in the management of organisations and enterprises today.
  3. Science and Technology and Societal Information: The increasing emphasis on the application of science and technology to social and economic developments is another factor contributing to the enhancement of the value of information. The organising principle for information systems and services today is a mix of Science, Technology and Societal Information (STSI) for all socio-economic developments.
  4. Information Technology: The rapidly developing Information Technology has revolutionised information processing, storage, dissemination and distribution. It is the chief instrument and a major contributing factor in the enhancement of the value of information. 
  5. Information Demand: The demand for information from lay persons to specialists and scholars have increased phenomenally in recent decades. Access to and availability of information, therefore, has become very crucial.
  6. Power Shift: Information and knowledge have become a tremendous source of economic and political power as they have become the principal driving force for the acquisition of wealth, political strength and more knowledge for development.

3) Distinguish between data, information and knowledge with an illustrative example.

  • Data is undifferentiated observation of facts in terms of words, numbers, symbols, etc. For example, scientific data collection in a laboratory experiment, social data with reference to population, or trade statistics, price index, etc.
  • Information is processed data. For example, analysis of population data with reference to scientific and technical personnel in a country, weather forecasting based on the data collected on atmospheric conditions built up on the high seas, inferences obtained on the properties of materials acquired from moon, etc.
  • Knowledge is consolidated and structured information as in encyclopaedic articles, state-of-the-art reports, textbooks, etc.

4) Why does Machlup consider information as a flow and knowledge as a stock?

By definition, information is piecemeal, unstructured, timely, etc. and the main purpose of information is to inform. The communication aspect is implied in information which flows from a sender to a receiver. Knowledge is a consolidation of validated data and information that constitutes a body of coherent and structured reservoir. To this body is added further knowledge and hence, this keeps on increasing as a stock, at times leading to modification of existing knowledge.

5) Give examples of data, information and knowledge served by libraries and information centres in the context of mass communication

  • Data, e.g., trade and industrial statistics, price index, entertainment announcements, etc.
  • Information, e.g., processed information of weather to warn farmers during times of monsoons, stock exchange information for investments, reports of music concerts, news about national and international events, etc.
  • Knowledge, e.g., press responsibilities vis-à-vis democratic institutions in the form of a report, international information order as exemplified by the third world countries meetings, the books such as ‘Many Voices One World’ published by UNESCO, etc.

Algorithm : Instructions for carrying out a series of logical procedural steps in a specific order.
Human Intellect : Skills of all variety necessary for all round development.
Information Age : A period characterised by domination of information.
Information Industry : Market place created by the convergence of computers, telecommunication and micro-electronics.
Information Technology : Acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of information by a
combination of base technologies such as microelectronics, computers and communications.
Synergetic Effect : An effect produced as a result of combination of two or more forces representing more than their mere summation.

Source: IGNOU Study Material