information source[‚in·fər′mā·shən ‚sōrs]
any system producing information or containing information intended for transmission; in information science, the conventional designation for scholarly documents or publications, which serve not only as important sources but also as the means of transmission of information in space and time.
Information sources are distinguished by the form of representation: textual (books, journals, manuscripts), graphic (graphs, diagrams, plans, charts), and audiovisual (sound recordings, motion pictures, slides). Different information sources have arisen at various times, but they have all undergone significant evolution in the 20th century. The most important division of information sources was considered to be that into published and unpublished, since ideas and facts were acknowledged as introduced to scholarly use only after their publication, which implied wide dissemination and official registration of the corresponding documents. Information science has made a different division of information sources—into primary and secondary. Primary information sources chiefly contain new scholarly information or a new comprehension of known ideas and facts, such as books (excluding handbooks), periodicals and serials, special kinds of technical publications, scientific-technical reports, dissertations, and information charts. Secondary information sources contain for the most part information from primary documents or about them, such as reference literature, surveys, journals of abstracts, library catalogs, and bibliographical indexes and card catalogs.
Since the mid-1960’s a system of depositing unpublished information sources has spread. It consists of manuscripts, articles, and books that are of interest to a small number of specialists; they are turned over, upon the decision of publishing and editing houses, for storage in information agencies. Information on these manuscripts is published in information publications, and copies of the manuscripts themselves are sent out upon the requests of specialists.
It has been established by analysis of interrelationships between scholarly publications that, of the enormous number of information sources accumulated by mankind, a small number of publications (about 10 percent of the total quantity), half of which are not more than five years old, are most often mentioned in later works and, consequently, are actually important for further scholarly investigations. These information sources constitute the core of truly valuable scholarly works.
REFERENCESPrice, D. “Sistema nauchnykh publikatsii.” Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 1966, vol. 90, issue 2, pp. 349–59.
Mikhailov, A. I., and R. S. Giliarevskii. Istochniki, poisk i ispol’zovanie nauchnoi informatsii. Moscow, 1970.
R. S. GILIAREVSKII