- B. C. Brookes's Fundamental Equation and the Concept of Information
- No.33, p.1-18
B. C. Brookes's Fundamental Equation has been regarded as one of the most influential models that depict in a simple form how a person deals with information. His equation suggests that the concept of information is likely to be something that modifies the recipient's knowledge struture as s/he uses information. Although this concept is generally accepted in current information research community, the equation still has some vagueness on the definitions of its terms. Information scientists after Brookes have discussed over this point of issue from various perspectives.
In this paper Brookes's concept of information as an object of scientific research is delineated definitively by examining his way of scientific thinking as well as his view of information science. His study lays emphasis on such topics as the uniqueness the phenomena of human information use assumes in character, the difficulty of distinguishing objective from subjective matters in that phenomena, and the necessity of paradigm shift in information science. This emphasis means Brookes's concept of information reflected in the term of ‘Δ’ of his equation should not be treated as a metaphor of a thing but of a process in relation to the personal cognition and understanding.
P. Ingwersen, a Denish scientist, also examines the Brookes's equation and gives some modifications to it. The main point in his modifications seems to be an addition of ‘potential informatio’. Ingwersen's interpretation may be significant as far as the phenomena of human information use can be seen as successive and static steps. But human information use is rather dynamic and interactive, then it is concluded that his interpretation makes little contribution to the explication of that phenomena in terms of human cognitive process.