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Information in the knowledge acquisition process

Boris Bosancic (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Osijek, Osijek, Croatia)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 12 September 2016




The purpose of this paper is to propose an appropriate symbolic representation, as well as its metaphorical interpretation, to illustrate the special role of information in the knowledge acquisition process.


Besides the literature review, this is a speculative study based on a symbolic and metaphorical point of view.


The proposed symbolic representation was derived from the conceptual designation of information “as a flow” and, accordingly, by the corresponding redrawing of the data-information-knowledge-wisdom (DIKW) pyramid. The knowledge acquisition process is symbolically represented by the growth of a “tree of knowledge” which is planted on a “data earth,” filled with “information sap” and lit by the rays of the “sun of the mind,” a new symbol of the concept of wisdom in the DIKW model. As indicated, a key concept of this metaphorical interpretation is the role of “information sap” which rises from the roots of the “tree of knowledge” to the top of the tree and it is recognized as an invisible link between “world of data” and “world of knowledge.” This concept is also proposed as a new symbolic representation of the DIKW model.


On the basis of specific symbolic-metaphorical representation, this paper provides a relatively new concept of information which may help bridge observed gaps in the understanding of information in various scientific fields, as well as in its understanding as an objective or subjective phenomenon.



Bosancic, B. (2016), "Information in the knowledge acquisition process", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 72 No. 5, pp. 930-960.



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