In recent years there has been growing interest in the concept of the knowledge society. This new concept has been ushered in by the information technology revolution, and it goes beyond data processing and the dissemination of information. It is about the integration of information into existing knowledge, the creation of new knowledge from current knowledge, and the sharing of knowledge in a global sense. It means finding new ways to use knowledge to enhance the economies, education, and well-being of the entire world. None of this is possible without information technology and the expertise of the information professionals who design, implement, and manage information systems, including indexers and abstractors.
Actually, since the dawn of civilization, societies have always been “knowledge societies,” but the advent of modern information technology and the emergence of the Internet as a public network all over the world have created a vast new environment with broad-ranging opportunities to widen information and knowledge forums (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations 2005). This is bringing new opportunities to make the world a true knowledge society, and, hopefully, a source for human improvements. The term knowledge society was first used by Peter Drucker in 1969; since that time it has been discussed intermittently, but developed into an in-depth notion in the 1990s.
The concept of a knowledge society is a much more dimensional model than the information society. There are many differences in the two models, but a major one is that the idea of a knowledge society implies information and knowledge sharing, which
integrates all its members and [promotes] new forms of solidarity involving both present and future generations. Nobody should be excluded from knowledge societies, where knowledge is a public good, available to each and every individual. (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations 2005)
When we talk about the information society, we need to understand that information is not necessarily knowledge. Information is a tool, an avenue, for creating knowledge. Knowledge is a much more complex and multilayered concept than information.
Knowledge societies are not only related to information and information technology, but are related to social, economic, and political issues. Obtaining sustainable societies, and promoting health, well-being, and democratic processes are closely related to the creation and distribution of knowledge. For example, for years the knowledge industry has been a major economic factor in the world. The concerns and interests of information professionals, including indexers and abstractors, for the knowledge society should be self-evident.
The confluence of the digital information age and the evolution of the knowledge society are opening exciting horizons for the indexer and abstractor, all information professionals, and for society in general.
- Cleveland, A. D., & Cleveland, D. B. (2013). Introduction to Indexing and Abstracting: Fourth Edition. ABC-CLIO.