Information Management (IM)

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Original Message

From: Sarah Cummings, posted on 2005/10/01

Information management (IM) is an interdisciplinary field with its roots in librarianship and information science, information technology, records management, archives and general management. Its focus is on information as a resource with an emphasis on collection. The material form in which this information occurs includes book, journals, and databases. Practitioners select, describe, classify, index, and abstract this information to make it more accessible to a target audience, either within or outside their organization. Fundamental concepts include thesauri (controlled vocabulary) and classification systems based on rules which provide the architecture for accessing information. Libraries and resources centres are generally the focus of IM activities. In a development context, IM is concerned to provide transparent and standardized access to information both within and outside the organization.

Usually when people define "Information Management", they use the concepts of "defining, storing, manipulating, evaluating, protecting, distributing, ... data within an organization". This means that you can view IM as one of the tools you use when working on KM.


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Wikipedia definition of IM Information management is the handling of information acquired by one or many disparate sources in a way that optimizes access by all who have a share in that information or a right to that information.

Through the 1970's this was largely limited to files, file maintenance, and life cycle management of paper and a small number of other media. With the proliferation of information technology starting in the 1970's, the job of information management took on a new light. No long was information management a simple job that could be performed by almost anyone. An understanding of the technology and the theory behind it became necessary, as information was ever more stored via electronic means. By the late 1990's when information was regularly disseminated across computers and other electronic devices, information managers found themselves tasked with increasingly complex devices. With the latest tools available, information management has become a powerful resource for organizations.

From INFORMATION simply is bits of data arranged in a fashion to give meaning. This includes financial data such as a company's manufacturing costs, profit, or employee records. Information is managed in terms of storage, flow/exchange, capabilities to manipulate with tools such as statistical packages like SPSS or packages like Business Objects produces to summarize data.

Information is usually defined as:

  • “Organized data” (Saint-Onge, 2002);
  • “Data endowed with relevance and purpose” (Drucker, 2001);
  • “Interpreted data” (Probst et alii, 2002).

References & Resources Understanding the difference between Information Management and Knowledge Management, Jose Claudio Terra, Ph.D., Terezinha Angeloni, Ph.D