The term ‘information’ refers to any material, though usually of particular interest or relevance to a person or industry. The word is also used to describe a collection or database. Information can come in different forms. Verifiable information refers to information that can be verified. This includes all of the relevant facts, figures and data about a specific subject or industry. In its more general sense however, information is processed, structured and organised data.
The twentieth century brought a new philosophy to the fore – information science. This movement embraced a methodology of scientific enquiry and methodology, which focused on the study of language and its meaning. The term information science came from the Greek term keratoi, which meant ‘skill in dealing with information’. This concept was taken to the logical level and applied to a system of scientific enquiries into different fields including linguistics (linguistic semantics) and knowledge management (specific knowledge management).
In the United States today, information retrieval is done through a combination of computer hardware, software and people. Information technology is basically the construction and implementation of information systems. These systems are then used by businesses and industries to process information that is either retrieved or needed in their operations. Today, information is used to enhance the efficiency of operations, and by extension, improve productivity, profits and bottom line.