SOURCE: Introduction to Computer and the Internet Teaching Material
From where do you get information?
You can obtain information directly from other living beings, from mass media, from electronic data bank, from purchased books and documents, and from all sorts of observable phenomenon in the surrounding environment. In general, the various sources of information are classified in to two major categories: Documentary and Non-documentary sources.
I. Documentary Sources: are documents or recorded sources of information in different forms. They are further categorized as Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary Sources.
1) Primary Documentary Sources: Primary documentary sources are the first published records of original research works. These documents represent unfiltered and original idea. They highly contribute to the development as well as strengthening of a given subject or discipline. Some examples of primary documentary sources include: journals and periodicals, conference proceedings, reports, patents, standards, thesis and dissertations, government publications, etc.
2) Secondary Documentary Sources: these sources are sources either compiled from the primary sources or referred to the primary sources. They consist distilled or refined information. They are produced after the primary sources. Some examples of secondary sources include: periodicals of some type, guides to books, indexes, bibliographies, text books, reference books such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.
3) Tertiary Documentary Sources: these sources do not contain subject matter knowledge, but guides to literatures or documents that are categorized under primary and secondary sources. Examples of tertiary sources include: catalogs in your library, indexing journals, guides to journals, telephone directories, subject guides, general guides, bibliographies of bibliographies, etc.
II. Non-Documentary Sources: are sources that are not purposely organized and documented. They provide information that the primary and secondary sources do not.
They are categorized into two: formal and informal.
Formal non-documentary sources include professional societies, industries, research organizations, universities, government departments, etc. while the informal ones include conversation with colleagues, visitors, attendance to professional meetings, etc.
Documentary sources by themselves do not satisfy your information need. Therefore, you have to be aware of what is found where and how you can get them. People, groups of professionals, organizations, information Bureaus and brokers, audiovisual materials, archives, etc are some examples of non-documentary information sources that provide you with necessary information that documentary sources lack.
Characteristics of information
In order for information to be of value in decision making or taking action, it must satisfy the requirement of users and valuable and useful information has got the following characteristics: accuracy, timeliness, completeness, relevance, economic accessibility, flexibility, reliability, expandable/diffusive, substitutable, transportable, and sharable.
Information is said to be:
Accurate- When it is free from any kind of errors;
Timely - If it is delivered at the right time when it is needed;
Complete- If it contains all important facts and figures required for specific purpose;
Relevant - If it is related and necessary to the problem at hand;
Economical- When its cost of production is less than or equal to the benefit gained form it;
Accessible - If you get the necessary information easily in the right format;
Flexible - If the same information is used for various purposes;
Reliable - If it is dependable,
Expandable /diffusive- if it can reach every side of the world
Substitutable- if it can substitute every thing (land, financial capital, human being) Transportable- if it can be transported easily in the form of its electronic form; and Sharable- if it one can give information with out losing it.
Factors that measure the quality of information
Accuracy-the measurement of error,
Timeliness-the time laps between the need and access,
Reliability-the degree of confidence that the users have on information, and Relevance-the importance of information for the purpose,
Factors that measure the quantity of information include:
Volume- university library has large volume than small college library,
Accessibility-is removing any barriers that protect the dissemination and transfer of information from one person to the other or from one place to the other place. These barriers include politics, religion, culture ,Technology, economy, illiteracy, distance, jargon, etc
Completeness -regardless of the volume, the university library might have incomplete information.