This is a preprint of an article published in the Journal of the American Society of Information Science 42:5 (June 1991): 351-360, published for the American Society for Information Science by Wiley and available online to ASIS members and other registered users at This text may vary slightly from the published version. Similar discussion occurs in the authors Information and Information Systems (Greenwood Press, 1991; Paperback: Praeger).

*New* Информация как вещь. Russian translation by Studybounty free essays database, September 2023.
*New* Інформацїя Як Рїч, Ukrainian translation by StudyCrumb essay writers, September 2023.


by Michael Buckland,
School of Information Management and Systems,
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-4600


Three meanings of "information" are distinguished: "Information-as-process"; "information-as-knowledge"; and "information-as-thing", the attributive use of "information" to denote things regarded as informative. The nature and characteristics of "information-as-thing" are discussed, using an indirect approach ("What things are informative?"). Varieties of "information-as-thing" include data, text, documents, objects, and events. On this view "information" includes but extends beyond communication. Whatever information storage and retrieval systems store and retrieve is necessarily "information-as-thing". These three meanings of "information", along with "information processing", offer a basis for classifying disparate information-related activities (e.g. rhetoric, bibliographic retrieval, statistical analysis) and, thereby, suggest a topography for "information science".

The text of this article is available at

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