On Information

Concepts in Information Management – blog by Ronald Fuller

Information Resources

An information resource is information organized for some purpose.  It can take the form of anything from a memorized telephone number to the Library of Congress or the entire internet.  The following table lists various types of information resources, how they are organized, and what they are useful for:


 Information resource:   Organized by:   Useful for:
 File cabinet  Drawers with alpha or numeric sorting  Manual document retrieval
 Novel  Sentences, paragraphs, chapters  Entertainment, relaxation
 Library  Subject, author  Finding publications
 Relational database  Tables, columns, rules, relationships  Flexible storage, retrieval and analysis
 XML file  Tags, nested hierarchies  Transporting and sharing data
 Big data  Key-value pairs  High-volume capture and processing
 Semantic ontology  Triples (subject, predicate, object)  Making information discoverable


The way information is organized determines how it can be used, so decisions about the organization of information should be carefully considered by the owner and managers of the resource.  Unfortunately, owners and managers usually only provide high-level guidance, and the actual decisions about the way information gets organized are instead delegated to an architect or technical specialist.  This is a costly mistake with long-term consequences.  The outcome is almost always an information resource that cannot be used the way its owners intend without being modified for every newly desired use.



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