The application of management principles to the acquisition, organization, control, dissemination and use of information relevant to the effective operation of organizations of all kinds. 'Information' here refers to all types of information of value, whether having their origin inside or outside the organization, including data resources, such as production data; records and files related, for example, to the personnel function; market research data; and competitive intelligence from a wide range of sources. Information management deals with the value, quality, ownership, use and security of information in the context of organizational performance.
The term 'information management' is used ambiguously in the literatures of several fields: in computer science and its applications it is used as a synonym for information technology management (Synott and Gruber 1981) or as identical to data management where the emphasis is on the structures underlying quantitative data and their relationship to the design of databases. In business or management studies it has similar connotations to technology management, with an emphasis on the relationship of information technology to business performance and competitiveness (Synott 1987). In the field of librarianship and information science it is identified with the 'emerging market' for information workers (managers), whose perception of information embraces data, organizational intelligence, competitive intelligence, external information resources of all kinds and the associated technology (manual or machine) for handling these different sources. Compared with the other areas, information management in this latter context is more widely concerned with the meaning of information for the information user and with information retrieval issues.
Information management, 'information resource(s) management', and 'knowledge management'
A further difficulty in defining information management arises out of the often synonymous use of the term information resource (or resources) management (IRM), the term used by the US National Commission on Federal Paperwork in its report (1977), where 'paperwork', including electronic documents of all kinds, was defined as constituting the information in IRM. This usage appears to limit the idea of IRM, but the report goes on to say that an IRM function (in US government agencies) would incorporate a wide range of disparate activities, including records management, library management, computer systems, printing and reprography, microforms and word-processing centres. Schneyman (1985) elaborates on this definition of IRM to cover five types of 'information resources': systems support, including computers and telecommunications; processing data, images, etc.; conversion and transformation, including reprographics; distribution and communication, including network management and telecommunications; and, finally, retention, storage and retrieval, which covers libraries, record centres, filing systems, and internal and external databases. He adds that, 'IRM supports IM by providing the technical capability and overall guidance for IM to do its job', which the defines as managing the ownership, content, quality and use of information.
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