• Summary
  • Contents

“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.

Uncertainty
Uncertainty

The relationship between information and H is often discussed in terms of certainty or its opposite, uncertainty (e.g., see Krippendorff, 1975, 1977, 1984; Shannon, 1949, pp. 49–53). Information as a concept in human communication, and H as a quantity in signal transmission, are both said to reduce uncertainty, an idea that is appealing on both intuitive and linguistic-grounds. Information is the quality of a message that tells something (Chapters 1 and 2); a remedy for uncertainty about something is to be told about it. If H measures the variety of possible things that might be specified by a message, as well as the power of elements in a message to specify something (Chapter 3), then H must have something to do with the degree to ...

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