International and Comparative Librarianship

S. R. Ranganathan, P. N. Kaula, R. N. Sharma, J. F. Harvey, D. J. Foskett, J. P. Danton, M. M. Jackson, etc.
This Blogosphere has a slant towards India [a.k.a Indica, Indo, South-Asian, Oriental, Bharat, Hindustan, Asian-Indian (not American Indian)].

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Visualizing Information based on primary and secondary research

Diaries, are one form of primary resource for any research or study. Librarians classify diaries and such original information tools as primary source or tools from primary research. When people digest this information and create a summary (or an interpretation) such a publication becomes secondary, a digest of digests become tertiary (depending on the levels of input) and quaternary.

This categorization of primary, secondary, etc., is essential for those who teach the library users--or call it information literacy.
Whereras, such categorization in research helps (those involved in study and research) identify the resources: what to look and when to look.

William A Katz, in his book, Introduction of Reference Work, says: "If the ideal reference service, to paraphrase Andre Malraux is 'reference service without walls', the nature of information does impose certain limitations on that service. This side of tapping experts in the community for 'firsthand' information, the library generally must rely upon published data... A rough way of measuring the usual timelines of materials is to classify them as primary, secondary, or tertiary." (volume one, 1978, p. 15)

Interestingly, information professionals, esp. librarians have time, patience, motivation, and skills to name the process, at each stage: be it input, thruput or output. Taxonomies, metadata, tags and keywords are a big world today, but many don't know that librarians are trained both in school and in work to identify and standardize names, themes and so on.

In short, we had traditionally three types of reference sources, viz., primary, secondary and tertiary. Now, a fourth category has emerged, viz., quaternary [C. A Morlot, Swiss stratigrapher and archaeologist, Originator of the term "Quaternary" as used in Geology, and related fields]

As a reference source, the word quaternary, has different definitions, and this includes:

A good template (sample, model) to visualize bookreview of reference sources, e.g, diary or autobiography, posted on a blog for the autobiographical work, What World is Left, is here: books based on primary and secondary research

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