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Information management in business, libraries and British military intelligence: towards a history of information management

Information management in business, libraries and British military intelligence: towards a... This study explores, historically, that definition of information management (IM) which centres on the ordering and channelling of non‐publicly available information within organisations. Whereas IM as a discipline is relatively new, as an activity within modern organisations it has a long history. Three types of organisation are highlighted: the business corporation, the library and the state agency (specifically, British military intelligence). Sophisticated information systems in organisations are a core feature of modernity and can be traced back to the revolution in state administration in the nineteenth century and to the emergence of large corporations from about 1880 onwards. At about the same time, libraries too evolved systematic, internal information flows and regimes, often of a standardised nature dictated by library management theorists. Evidence from the government sphere is also presented: considerable space is given in the study to the role played by IM in the early years of MI5, Britain‘s counter‐espionage and counter‐insurgency military intelligence agency. Documents recently released by the Public Record Office, covering the first decade of MI5’s history between 1909 and 1919, point to a growing recognition of the importance of IM. In conclusion, a case will be made for the construction of a new subject field of ‘Information Management History’ which will enrich, particularly through potentially exciting research pathways, not just the established fields of business and administrative history but also the emergent discipline of IM itself. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Documentation Emerald Publishing

Information management in business, libraries and British military intelligence: towards a history of information management

Journal of Documentation , Volume 55 (4): 14 – Oct 1, 1999

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References (21)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 MCB UP Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0022-0418
DOI
10.1108/EUM0000000007150
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study explores, historically, that definition of information management (IM) which centres on the ordering and channelling of non‐publicly available information within organisations. Whereas IM as a discipline is relatively new, as an activity within modern organisations it has a long history. Three types of organisation are highlighted: the business corporation, the library and the state agency (specifically, British military intelligence). Sophisticated information systems in organisations are a core feature of modernity and can be traced back to the revolution in state administration in the nineteenth century and to the emergence of large corporations from about 1880 onwards. At about the same time, libraries too evolved systematic, internal information flows and regimes, often of a standardised nature dictated by library management theorists. Evidence from the government sphere is also presented: considerable space is given in the study to the role played by IM in the early years of MI5, Britain‘s counter‐espionage and counter‐insurgency military intelligence agency. Documents recently released by the Public Record Office, covering the first decade of MI5’s history between 1909 and 1919, point to a growing recognition of the importance of IM. In conclusion, a case will be made for the construction of a new subject field of ‘Information Management History’ which will enrich, particularly through potentially exciting research pathways, not just the established fields of business and administrative history but also the emergent discipline of IM itself.

Journal

Journal of DocumentationEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 1, 1999

Keywords: Armed forces; Information systems; Libraries

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