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CSC124 Information, Technology, and Society: Information Defined

This guide will define information, explain the differences between Google and databases or other library resources, how to locate reliable resources, and how to cite these resources.

The Library and Information

Bookshelf with sitting hand drawn fantasy white cat reading book.

          We all rely on information to live our lives, complete assignments for our classes, and finish tasks for our employers.  As students, you will primarily use the library's information in order to complete assignments.  No matter your major, the library should have resources to help you find the information you need to complete your assignments and help you to become independent searchers. 

          This guide will be used as a resource to help you define information, identify trustworthy sources, search using databases, and properly cite the information you have located.


Elizabeth Waugh's picture
Elizabeth Waugh
Madigan Library
Sunday - Thursday 1 - 9 pm
Librarian for the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies
570-320-2400 ext. 7742

What Is Information?

          When I searched for a definition using the Bing search engine, information was defined as "facts provided or learned about something or someone."  This is a very simple definition of information.  BusinessDictionary provides a more specific definition and defines information as being:

  • correct and current
  • specified and organized
  • within a set context
  • able to increase understanding and decrease uncertainty

square listing the various formats of informationFor your projects and coursework you will likely need four distinct types of information: factual, analytical, subjective, and objective.

  • Factual information uses subjects that are known, provable, and accurate.

An example of factual information: "Google is the most popular search engine in the world."

  • Analytical information is interpretations of factual data and logical reasoning to reach a specific conclusion.

Scholarly articles and books are usually analytical because they analyze multiple sources of information and reach a conclusion based off of the research.

  • Subjective information is information that is influenced to some degree by personal opinions, biases, and feelings.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is heavily influenced by Stephen Colbert's political beliefs, biases, and attitudes.

  • Objective information is information that is not influenced by personal opinions, biases, and feelings.

Although fewer examples of objective information exist, research papers are objective because researchers examine and synthesize information that can be checked for accuracy. 

Information Timeline

Information Timeline graph

The Limits of "Breaking News"