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“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 half a century. Information seeks to summarize and resolve the difficult issues associated with this endeavor. Ritchie succinctly explains the distinctions among the myriad definitions/understandings of information and why these distinctions are important. Providing a definition for information, he then explores how the concept of information can connect various aspects of the communication process in a coherent way. This analysis ranges across several levels of conceptual usage: technical meaning in engineering; the complex meanings of information; and its metaphorical usage by communication theorists.

Measuring the Variety of a Set
Measuring the variety of a set

Included in the broader question of how much can be communicated in a situation is the problem of the capacity of the systems available for transmitting messages. Transmission here refers generally to the problem of reproducing messages at another time (i.e., representation and storage) as well as the problem of reproducing messages at another place (i.e., transmission as it is commonly understood).

The problem of transmission capacity can be restated as a problem of calculating the power of a code to specify elements of one set by matching them with elements of another set. Transmission is accomplished by encoding the message into a target code with the desirable characteristics of duration and/or motion: Once the ...

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