Access To Information And Knowledge In Post-War Reconstruction In Sierra Leone

It is frequently said that we live in an ‘Information Age’. The leaders of the USA talk of an Information Superhighway; the EU of an Information Society; academics talk of a network society, and knowledge economy’. Leading business strategists argue that Knowledge is replacing financial capital as a key resource for companies. The current realization is that any society that strives to develop requires increasingly more information and knowledge activities as these facilitate the measurement of change in every fabric of society. What do we understand by the terms INFORMATION and KNOWLEDGE?

Information and knowledge
Two schools of thought exist. We tend to think that Information and Knowledge are synonymous and are thus used inter-changeably. However there is a difference. Information is usually a selection of documents/ideas in a particular subject or range of subjects which may or may not have been digested necessarily. It therefore has the potential of becoming Knowledge. Knowledge, on the other hand, can be of two kinds: tacit and explicit, the latter having greater similarity with Information but not exclusively so. A collection of books, for example, may be described as a body of knowledge and each กระเบื้อง ปู พื้น ภายนอก document representing informed ideas that are likely to influence others when digested. Such knowledge, when acquired serves, among others, as experiences, ideas and skills in the form of Tacit Knowledge.

Information is one of the principle sources of knowledge. It is shared knowledge, having been communicated and usually obtained by study and investigation. Abate (1988) referred to information as intelligence and knowledge that contributes to the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of society, irrespective of the form it is inscribed (eg text; figures); medium stored (eg paper, magnetic tapes); mode of dissemination (eg oral, written); societal activity that gives rise to it(eg research, census); and the institutions that organize and disseminate it( eg library and information centre).

Knowledge, on the other hand, is what one knows. Davenport and Prusak (1998) defined it as a fluid mix of framed experiences, values, contextual information and expert insights that provide a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. That is to say Knowledge involves human reaction to information. For instance if one is able to understand simple written description to a particular illness, that is information. However, if we thought that someone was suffering from that illness, most of us would suggest that the person went to see a medical doctor. This is because the doctor has a body of knowledge which is a combination of information about that illness, information about the human body, about other illnesses and experiences of similar cases and training.

Information and Knowledge are among the world’s most important resources needed daily to solve problems and make decisions affecting the future. According to Mchombu (1995),for any community to function efficiently and productively, a basic minimum stock of usable information is essential. Aboyade (1987) posited that adequate information is essential for strengthening the link between the indicators and the beneficiaries of development effort, and for making rural people understand and appreciate the benefits of the development programmes to their lives. What people accomplish in organizations, he added, depends largely upon the information and knowledge they possess. Increasingly the degree of success enjoyed by organizations and the people who work for them depends on how well they manage their information and knowledge. These are the strategic assets of the enterprise.

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