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SHB ENG101: Information cycle

What is the format?

We get information from a variety of sources.  Different formats, or "packages," of information reflect their varying purposes and timing.   For example, the purpose of news formats is to provide up-to-the-date, or even up-to-the-hour, general reports of current events and information. This is a much different purpose from that of a scholarly report or article which provides in-depth analysis of a narrow topic or issue in a time-frame that is far removed from the original happening.  The combination of information sources has been referred to as the "information cycle."  Understanding this cycle of information will help you identify what sources to look at in regard to a specific information need.

Remember, all formats of information can be found in print and digital media. The place (for example, a library or a computer) you find information does not define the type of source it is.

The Information Cycle

 

Planning your search

This diagram and other information on this page was created by De Montfort University and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. 

Information in time

 A practical way of evaluating information is to consider where information comes from and how it has been produced.

The Information Cycle illustrates how information is published in set patterns. Information at the beginning of the cycle (Internet) is aimed at an audience wanting quick, up-to-date facts. As the information progresses around the Cycle it becomes more detailed but also more out of date. When deciding on the quality of the information you may have to balance reliability (accurate and proven facts) against currency (the period of time over which the information was written and produced).

The Information Cycle (video)