Since the mid-1990s the use of electronic resources has transformed information gathering for academic research. But it has affected subjects in different ways and to different degrees. Where previously finding information in all subjects was based around libraries, Library users studying different subjects nowadays do not go to the library in person but have convenient access to vast amounts of information from their desktops. In other subjects, electronic resources have been embraced, but visits to libraries are as important as ever and continue to form the basis of research projects with researchers regularly traveling abroad to use particular collections.
The information has been described as the fifth resource and need of man ranking after air, water, food, and shelter. “Information is data that has been processed into a form that is meaningful to the recipient and is of real or perceived value in current or prospective action or decisions”. International Standard Organization establishes the meaning of data as “a representation of facts, concepts, or instructions in a formalized manner, suitable for communication, interpretation or processing by human or by automatic means”. Only when data are transformed and restructured via the information process, they become informed. There is an unbreakable chain of communication from the past to the present and present to the future. Information science, in studying the collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information has origins in the common stock of human knowledge. Information is meant for systematic communication to enable the right decision. It plays a crucial role in the field of education. It prepares the student for examination, the scholar for research and the faculty for instruction. It is available from a variety of sources both institutional and non-institutional. According to Shera (1998), “information both in the sense as is used by the biologists and in the sense as librarians use it, is a fact”. According to Bhattacharya (1997) “Information is the message conveyed or intended to be conveyed by a systematized body of ideas”.
In Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, the term ‘information’ is defined as “the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence. Something obtained or received through information; the process by which the form of an object of knowledge is impressed upon the apprehending minds so as to bring about the status of knowing”. Information is an important factor in any society, be it a profession or for any other reason. According to Turner (1988) information is a key resource that can bring about change and improvement in society. User studies in library and information science are based on the premise that effective library services must begin with a clear understanding of the actual needs of information users.
The information system designed for an organization must meet the requirements of the end-users of the organization. To obtain what end users expect from the information system the designer must gain complete knowledge of the organization’s working. It is important for the student to know the information-gathering techniques so that no information is overlooked and the nature and functions of an organization are clearly understood. The main purpose of gathering information is to determine the information requirements of an organization or users. Information gathering strategy should be evolved by the analyst to gather information. The strategy consists of identifying information sources, evolving a method of obtaining information from the identified sources and using an information flow model of the organization.
It is the process of gathering information from a variety of sources for a variety of reasons. Learning to develop effective information-gathering strategies will help to study in a number of different ways. Effective information gathering can be done by utilizing time more efficiently and effectively, developing critical thinking through the use of shifting/sorting techniques and broadening outlook and subject understanding through the exploration of more diverse sources. Further, the information gathering can be used for a variety of different reasons; however, the main benefit with regards to academic studies is that one will become aware of more diverse sources, opinions, and approaches which will enhance one’s academic work
Process of Gathering Information:
There are many different ways to gain access to information on an organization or individual. Some of these options require technical skills while others require the “soft skills” of human hacking. Some options can be used from any location with Internet access and some can only be done in-person at a specific location. There are options that require no more equipment than a voice, options that only require a phone and still others that require sophisticated gadgets.
A social engineer can combine many small pieces of information gathered from different sources into a useful picture of the vulnerabilities of a system. Information can be important whether it comes from the janitor’s or the CEO’s office; each piece of paper, employee spoken to, or area visited by the social engineer can add up to enough information to access sensitive data or organizational resources. The lesson here is that all information, no matter how insignificant the employee believes it to be, may assist in identifying vulnerability for a company and an entrance for a social engineer.
Traditional sources are typically open, publicly available sources of information that don’t require any illegal activity to obtain. Whereas, Non – traditional sources are still legal but less obvious and often overlooked information sources such as dumpster diving. It’s possible such sources can provide data that a corporate security awareness program wouldn’t or couldn’t take into account. Lastly, there are illegal ways to obtain information such as malware, theft, and impersonating law enforcement or government agencies. As you can imagine, this last category is touched on throughout the framework with care as we only support legal activities conducted within the context of a sanctioned penetration test.
Information Gathering Techniques:
It’s difficult to build a solution if you don’t know the requirements (in spite of the fact that many teams still try to do it today). The “elicitation” step is where the requirements are first gathered from the client. Many techniques are available for gathering information. Each has value in certain circumstances, and in many cases, you need multiple techniques to gain a complete picture from a diverse set of clients and stakeholders. Here’s a look at some of the approaches you can take.
a) One-on-One Interviews: The most common technique for gathering information is to sit down with the clients and ask them what they need. The discussion should be planned out ahead of time based on the type of requirements you’re looking for. There are many good ways to plan the interview, but generally you want to ask open-ended questions to get the interviewee to start talking and then ask probing questions to uncover requirements.
b) Group Interviews: Group interviews are similar to the one-on-one interview, except that more than one person is being interviewed – usually two to four. These interviews work well when everyone is at the same level or has the same role. Group interviews require more preparation and more formality to get the information you want from all the participants. You can uncover a richer set of requirements in a shorter period of time if you can keep the group focused.
c) Facilitated Sessions: In a facilitated session, you bring a larger group (five or more) together for a common purpose. In this case, you are trying to gather a set of common requirements from the group in a faster manner than if you were to interview each of them separately.
d) Joint Application Development (JAD): JAD sessions are similar to general facilitated sessions. However, the group typically stays in the session until the session objectives are completed. For a requirements JAD session, the participants stay in session until a complete set of requirements is documented and agreed to.
e) Questionnaires: Questionnaires are much more informal, and they are good tools to gather requirements from stakeholders in remote locations or those who will have only minor input into the overall requirements. Questionnaires can also be used when you have to gather input from dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people.
f) Prototyping: Prototyping is a relatively modern technique for gathering information. In this approach, you gather preliminary requirements that you use to build an initial version of the solution a prototype. You show this to the client, who then gives you additional requirements. You change the application and cycle around with the client again. This repetitive process continues until the product meets the critical mass of business needs or for an agreed number of iterations.
g) Use Cases: Use cases are basically stories that describe how discrete processes work. The stories include people (actors) and describe how the solution works from a user perspective. Use cases may be easier for the users to articulate, although the use cases may need to be distilled later into the more specific detailed requirements.
h) Following People Around: This Technique is especially helpful when gathering information on current processes. You may find, for instance, that some people have their work routine down to such a habit that they have a hard time explaining what they do or why. You may need to watch them perform their job before you can understand the entire picture. In some cases, you might also want to participate in the actual work process to get a hands-on feel for how the business function works today.
i) Request for Proposals (RFPs): If you are a vendor, you may receive requirements through a RFP. This list of requirements is there for you to compare against your own capabilities to determine how close a match you are to the client’s needs.
j) Brainstorming: On some projects, the requirements are not “uncovered” as much as they are “discovered”. In other words, the solution is brand new and needs to be created as a set of ideas that people can agree to. In this type of project, simple brainstorming may be the starting point. The appropriate subject matter experts get into a room and start creatively brainstorming what the solution might look like. After all the ideas are generated, the participants prioritize the ones they think are the best for this solution. The resulting consensus of best ideas is used for the initial requirements.
Information seeking behaviour is the technique or the process of searching for the information. Information seeking behaviour depends on the types of information need of the people. So information seeking behaviour arises when the person is able to recognize what type of information gathering which means that after identifying what type of information they need they search for it and gather it from different sources following their techniques or processes of searching (i.e. a simple or complex search).
Providing latest information to their clients has been one of the most important goals of library and information science (LIS) professionals. They have responded very quickly to the new information technologies as soon as they became available, be it computer, online searching, CD-ROM technology or communication networks. Urgency of providing latest information to the researchers has been the main reason behind this response. An equally important reason has been the enormous volume of print media which made it practically impossible to locate the desired information manually and the costs involved in it. The attraction of electronic information processing has brought LIS professionals and computer experts very close to each other. Through online searching and CDROMs, librarians have very fast access to information but this access is limited in scope The international communication networks provide virtually unlimited access to librarians. Internet is such a concept which places information on a librarian’s disposal.
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