Publication Year: 1991
“Overall, Ritchie provides an excellent introduction to Shannon's theories of communication and the associated ideas concerning information.” – Library Quarterly SERIES QUOTE: “The second volume in the series is titled information and the third volume is Gatekeeping. Taking their lead from Chaffee, both Ritchie and Shoemaker carefully explicate the concepts which focus their texts. As is the first volume in the series, these are well-thought out, succinct, and very readable volumes. Additional titles are planned…. If the standards set by these three are continued, this promises to be an exciting series which provides clarity and focus to the study of communication.” – ETC: A Review of General Semantics Challenging, intriguing, complex–defining information has occupied many of the best minds in the field of communication for ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Chapter 1: Information in Communication Science
- Information in Recent Communication Literature
- The Mathematical Theory of Communication
- Historical Perspective
- Signal Transmission as Metaphor
- Matching Concept to Theory
- Chapter 2: Communication: Signal Transmission and Interpretation
- Signal Transmission
- Data, Relevance, and Information
- Chapter 3: Measuring the Variety of a Set
- The Power of a Code
- A Basic Metric: The Binary Set
- Codes with Unequal Distribution of Elements
- What H Measures
- Some Useful Characteristics of H
- Chapter 4: Redundancy: How Structure Affects Variety
- Code Efficiency
- How Internal Structure Contributes to Communication
- How Internal Structure Affects H
- Chapter 5: Structure and Relevance
- The Structure of the Transmission System
- The Structure of a Message
- Social Structure
- Chapter 6: Uncertainty
- Defining Uncertainty
- Uncertainty and False Paradoxes
- Managing Uncertainty in Human Communication
- Uncertainty in Communication: Causes and Remedies
- Measuring Uncertainty
- Chapter 7: Summary: Distinctions and Connections
Communication Concepts[Page ii]
This series reviews enduring concepts that have guided scholarly inquiry in communication, including their intellectual evolution and their uses in current research. Each book is designed to provide organized background reading for those who intend further study of the subject.
EDITORStevenH.Chaffee, Stanford University
ASSOCIATE EDITORSCharlesR.Berger, University of California, DavisJosephN.Cappella, University of PennsylvaniaRobertP.Hawkins, University of Wisconsin-MadisonMarkR.Levy, University of Maryland, College ParkNeilM.Malamuth, University of California, Los AngelesJackMcLeod, University of Wisconsin-MadisonPeterMonge, University of Southern CaliforniaByronReeves, Stanford UniversityMichaelSchudson, University of California, San DiegoEllenWartella, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EDITORIAL ASSISTANTCarolineSchooler, Stanford University
Copyright © 1991 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
For information address:
SAGE Publications, Inc.
2455 Teller Road
Newbury Park, California 91320
SAGE Publications Ltd.
6 Bonhill Street
London EC2A 4PU
SAGE Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
Greater Kailash I
New Delhi 110 048 India
Printed in the United States of America
ISBN 0-8039-3904-3 (c) ISBN 0-8039-3905-1 (p)
FIRST PRINTING, 1991
Sage Production Editor: Astrid Virding
When citing a Communications Concepts issue, please follow this reference style:
Ritchie, L. David (1991). Communication Concepts 2: Information. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Each volume in the Communication Concepts series deals at length with an idea of enduring importance to the study of human communication. Through analysis and interpretation of the scholarly literature, specialists in each area explore the uses to which a major concept has been put, and point to promising directions for future work.
Information is clearly a—perhaps the—central concept in the study of communication. We asked L. David Ritchie to range across several levels of conceptual usage in this one small book: information's technical meaning in engineering; the complex meanings of information and various pseudonyms—uncertainty, structure, entropy, redundancy—in specialized academic studies; and its metaphorical usage by communication theorists. He has, with our encouragement, concentrated largely on the middle of this list, developing the academic and theoretical meanings that are most applicable to the human side of communication. His examples cover a wide range, including such domains as interpersonal communication, group dynamics, mass media, social structure, social influence, decision making, organizational communication, and the history of technology. This book offers a synthesis that is relevant to the interests of virtually every student of communication processes.
Far from having an agreed-upon, self-evident meaning, information is a challenging topic for conceptualization that has occupied many of the best minds in the field of communication for half a century. Professor Ritchie deserves our thanks for summarizing and resolving many difficult issues with this book. This volume should help focus the thinking of the next generation of scholars, who, we are certain, will find further stimulation in the concept of information.—StevenH.Chaffee, Series EditorJosephCappella, Associate Editor
The ideas presented in this monograph began to take shape while I was a graduate student at Stanford University; the first drafts of several chapters were written at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. I am deeply indebted, for my general approach to concept explication and theory development, to the inspiration and teaching of Steven H. Chaffee, Donald F. Roberts, and Richard F. Carter. Both Peter Monge and Joseph Cappella were kind enough to read the manuscript in considerable detail and spare me thereby from at least some of my most embarrassing mistakes. The ideas presented herein have also benefited from extensive discussions with many colleagues and friends, including Klaus Krippendorff, Vincent Price, John Peters, David Mortensen, James Dillard, Isabelle Bauman, and Eugene Buder. My wife, LaJean Humphries, has been a consistent source of advice and encouragement. I hope the product will prove to be worthy of their trust and friendship.
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