We all put information into categories whether we realize it or not. Fiction vs. nonfiction. Broadcast vs. print. Magazines vs. books. When you walk into a library or bookstore, the items are arranged in subject categories (psychology, history, etc.) or by format or media type (CD, DVD, print).
Info can be analyzed by the order in which it is produced—this is the general focus of the primary/secondary/tertiary categories in section 1.3. Info can be categorized by who produces it and who the major audience is, as with the popular/scholarly/trade categories in section 1.2. Info also can appear in a number of formats, as module 1.4 shows us.
Why does this matter?
- A class assignment might require you to use only scholarly sources. How do you find and identify those?
- A presentation (for class or on the job) could benefit from a mix of formats. For example, you might want to use the actual audio of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech for a history class PowerPoint or part of a competitor’s commercial for a market share analysis for your boss.
- You want the text of a speech by your state Senator to clarify his/her position on an important issue. You heard a little of it on the local news, but want to make sure you get the whole picture. Where do you find the actual words of the entire speech, either in print or in some type of database?
- Knowing how information is categorized helps you make sense of it all. It helps you keep your sanity, and choose the best sources for your particular purpose.