Information may be defined as a fact or set of facts, knowledge, news, or advice, whether communicated by others or obtained by personal study and investigation; any datum that reduces uncertainty about the state of any part of the world; intelligence; knowledge derived from reading, observation, or instruction.[1]

Information is:

  • Processed data
  • Organized data for a purpose
  • Presented within a context that gives it meaning
  • Information is valuable because it can affect behavior and a decision.[2]

Types of Information
There are four types of information:

  • Factual: Factual information is information that solely deals with facts. It is short and non-explanatory. The best place to find factual information is in reference books such as encyclopedias and almanacs. You can also find it in governmental statistics such as the U.S. Census.
  • Analytical: Analytical information is the interpretation of factual information. What does factual information mean? What does it imply? This is the type of information that researchers generate in their studies. Analytical information is mostly found in books and journals.
  • Subjective: Subjective information is information from only one point of view. Opinions are subjective. You can find subjective information almost anywhere factual information isn't. It is in books, journals, websites, and book reviews.
  • Objective: Objective information is information that is understood from multiple viewpoints and presents all sides of an argument. Reference books are a good place to find objective information. Newspapers that have balanced and fair reporting are also objective. Opposing Viewpoints and Facts on File are both great objective databases.

The Need and Importance of Information[3]
In the present day society, there is a great and urgent need for access to and availability of information. The information needed for the various purposes is enumerated below:

  • Information is an aid in decision making, policy making needed for the policymakers, decision-makers, managers, etc.
  • Information will have a reinforcing/transforming effect on human beings receiving it. A great deal of change can be perceived in the human minds/ attitudes on obtaining the information, as it increases the ability of personal knowledge for the recipient.
  • Information generates new information. This is the existing knowledge/ information that helps in generating new information; new knowledge; new theories, etc. In fact, scientists and scholars avail or use the information to produce other documents, like research reports, thesis/ dissertations, books, journal articles, seminar papers, etc.
  • The users of various professions and vocations like doctors, engineers, scientists, scholars, etc. acquire and apply information in order to do their job more effectively and efficiently. i.e. application of information for practical purposes.
  • Information supports research in order to obtain effective and fruitful results.
  • Information helps in better management of manpower, materials, production, finance, marketing, etc.
  • State-of-art kind of information on a subject helps in identifying the gaps/ shortcomings of the subject field and to identify the research problems to be explored or undertaken.
  • Information helps in avoiding the duplication of research.
  • Information stimulates the thought process of the users, particularly the scholars.
  • Information helps scientists, engineers, scholars, etc. to get well-informed about the current advancements in their subjects, and to keep them up-to-date.

See Also