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The Flow of Information

What subject area are you researching?

Information flows in different ways in different subject areas. Each of the links below takes you to a timeline which will show you how information flowed from a sample event, research study, or artistic creation. Pick the subject area that you are researching or that you find interesting.

News / History 1986, The Space Shuttle 'Challenger' Explodes
Arts & Humanities 1952, Flannery O'Connor's First Novel Wise Blood is Published.
Science 1953: Crick & Watson Determine the Structure of DNA
Social Science 1971, The Effects of Divorce on Children
Business 1989: The Takeover Fight for RJR Nabisco
  1. How is new information created?
  2. How does it get from its source to you?
  3. How does knowledge change over time?

Knowing how information flows helps you decide what type of information you need, whether it's a book, an article, a Web site, or a reference book. New information first appears in primary sources such as first-person accounts (newspapers, diaries, interviews), works of literature or art (novels, plays, paintings), or raw data (census numbers, economic statistics, surveys, experiments). Information from primary sources is analyzed and synthesized before being published in secondary sources such as encyclopedias, journal articles, and history books. Our understanding of events, data, or artwork evolves over time as secondary sources interpret — and re-interpret — the primary sources.

Adapted from (link will open in a new window) UCLA College Library (accessed April 4, 2001) which was adapted from Sharon Hogan's original  Flow of Information  conceptual approach to library instruction 1980 by Diane Zwemer, Instructional Services Coordinator, UCLA College Library.

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