“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.
Chapter 7: Summary: Distinctions and Connections
Summary: Distinctions and Connections
Information has to do with the way an act of communication (i.e., a message) tells something or informs someone of something: The concept of information is embedded in the concept of communication. Mechanical communication (e.g., between the encoder and decoder of a telegraph circuit or between two worker ants) can be conceived of as a relatively simple stimulus-response process, and information can be defined in relation to the set of possible stimulus-response pairs. Over the past several decades, it has become evident that human communication is a more complex process. The concept of information, if it is to contribute to developing a theory of human communication, needs to be understood in a way that reflects this complexity.[Page 62]
Understanding a ...