Meanings of information / Ma (2012)

Citation - Ma, Lai. (2012). Meanings of information: The assumptions and research consequences of three foundational LIS theories. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(4), 716-723.

Keyword -


  • 背景/動機:
  • 假定:
  • 方法:
  • 資料:
  • 發現:


Ma (2012) 認為需要釐清「資訊」一詞的意義,因為資訊一詞的模糊多義會導致指涉不明、誤解、被意識形態所掩蓋真正的意涵。

The meanings of the term “information” and their assumptions vary in different texts and situations. Hence, it is important to ask questions about information because the ambiguity of the meanings of the term may imply that (a) the term “information” has been used without clarifying what it actually refers to or what it means, (b) what “information” means in some contexts may have been misunderstood by connotations, and © the use of the term “information” may be ideological in the sense that it may have masked or distorted the “actual meaning” by its connotations.


  • Shannon-Weaver model (Shannon & Weaver, 1964)
  • Brookes’ interpretation of Popper’s World 3 (Brookes,1980)
  • Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom (DIKW) model (Ackoff, 1989; Shedroff, 2001)

The Shannon-Weaver Model

Ma理解的 Shannon 理論,是為了減少傳播時的雜訊,以改善傳播系統中的訊息品質,是一種技術問題的研究。而Weaver 進一步將此轉化為意義問題的解決技術。Shannon-Weaver Model 是一種單向的,沒有互動協商的模型。

(我的理解是,Shannon 的理論是為了計算傳播過程中的不確定性。Weaver 看到 Shannon 沒有直接講出來的這點,才進一步闡釋。圖示的模型並不是Shannon-Weaver理論的核心,這個模型簡單到任何當時的電報工程師都畫得出來;理論的核心是他們用來計算不確定性的資訊熵定義與公式。Shannon 不在意訊息中的意義,因此創造出「資訊」一詞,作為計算不確定性的單位。)

Shannon’s communication system theorizes the problems of the transmission of messages from an information source to a destination through a channel (Figure 1). The technical problem is to select the best messages (i.e., symbolic representation for encryption) and to minimize noise that may interrupt the transmission process,

(下一段我認為也是誤解。與明文訊號相較,加密(encryption)是增加訊號的不確定性,而不是減少訊息傳遞的不確定性。Shannon 的理論在於透過對不確定性的計算,找出訊息通道所能容納的最大資訊量,以及訊息中的贅餘,使訊息在相同資訊量下,更有效的利用贅餘以抵銷通訊過程中的雜訊–非預期的資訊。)

Based on the mathematical model, encryption is designed to control information for the reduction of uncertainty during transmission. The encryption needed depends on the capacity of the communication channel. As such, the statistical characteristics of a signal should be optimal for the capacity of the communication channel.

(Shannon 與 Weaver 對資訊的定義其實不相同。Shannon 認為資訊是熵,但 Weaver 認為資訊是負熵。Ma 沒有區別兩者,主要引述 Weaver 的資訊論。)


認為「資訊」的意義不在日常生活用法中,使用但沒有真正理解「資訊」這個詞。換言之,Ma 認為「資訊」這個詞有一個能被真正理解的意義,不在日常生活的使用之中。

we use the term ‘information’ in our day-to-day conversation, we usually do not think about or clarify what it means; indeed, we usually understand the meaning of the term ‘information’ without thinking about it.

但此一認識論立場,仍是指涉的實在論,與Wittgenstein相反。但Ma 在更早的論文卻引用了 Wittgenstein 作為詞彙多義的開場。

file link - Google Schloar, XXC