In simple terms, information is organized, processed and structured information. It gives context to data and allows decision making by users. For instance, a single consumer’s sale at a certain restaurant is data this becomes data when the company is able to accurately identify which dish is the most popular or least popular.
The challenge in information technology is how information is interpreted by users and used to make informed decisions. Information technology helps users interpret information and use it in order to make informed decisions. In essence, information technology is defined as the application of information technology to solve problems and enhance productivity. There are different forms of information technology. Examples of these are Internet, web services, mobile phone technology, retail software and so on. Web services are an example of discrete data processing cycle and Internet is an example of an infinite data processing cycle.
Formal information systems on the other hand are designed and controlled by a discipline. This discipline is mostly academics and has developed certain standards which form the base for designing formal information systems. The major part of designing formal information systems is collecting relevant information from a wide variety of sources. This information is then analyzed and used to design an information system. Typically, users interact with a knowledge management system through a Knowledge Manager who takes the entire information hierarchy and directs users towards required information. Knowledge Managers are also involved in educating users on proper usage of information resources.
Research has shown that successful businesses are conducted and managed by people who possess information literacy. Basically, information literacy is not only about using information sources effectively; it is also about knowing how to interpret those information sources in a meaningful manner for decision making. People need to understand why a particular information source is relevant and important while they also have to know what a particular source tells them. In other words, effective information literacy involves understanding your own and other people’s perspective on the subject.
In the current scenario, knowledge management and information literacy are becoming more interdependent for the efficient management of information systems and procedures. Information science has become an integral part of organizations, both private and public sector. It is also a great means of imparting knowledge to people as it provides real-world experiences and solutions to many practical questions related to business. Furthermore, information science has contributed a lot in developing information systems which are now commonplace in most businesses.
However, if a person lacks information literacy then he may lack the ability to use electronic sources effectively. In such a case, he may be able to extract useful information from electronic sources, but he may not be able to apply this information in his decision making process. A person may lack information literacy because he is not well schooled in information science or may not have access to the electronic sources that are required for applying information science theory in decision making. In such a situation, there are many professionals who can guide a person through information literacy.