Understanding Information Related Fields: A Conceptual Framework

Ping Zhang, Robert I. Benjamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Many scientific fields share common interests for research and education. Yet, very often, these fields do not communicate to each other and are unaware of the work in other fields. Understanding the commonalities and differences among related fields can broaden our understanding of the interested phenomena from various perspectives, better utilize resources, enhance collaboration, and eventually move the related fields forward together. In this article, we present a conceptual framework, namely the Information-Model or I-model, to describe various aspects of information related fields. We consider this a timely effort in light of the evolutions of several information related fields and a set of questions related to the identities of these fields. It is especially timely in defining the newly formed Information Field from a community of twenty some information schools. We posit that the information related fields are built on a number of other fields but with their own unique foci and concerns. That is, core components from other fundamental fields interact and integrate with each other to form dynamic and interesting information related fields that all have to do with information, technology, people, and organization/society. The conceptual framework can have a number of uses. Besides providing a unified view of these related fields, it can be used to examine old case studies, recent research projects, educational programs and curricula concerns, as well as to illustrate the commonalities and differences with the information related fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1934-1947
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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