We need to recognise that the entire information sector—from music to newspapers to telecoms to internet to semiconductors and anything in-between—has become subject to a gigantic market failure in slow motion. A market failure exists when market prices cannot reach a self-sustaining equilibrium. The market failure of the entire information sector is one of the fundamental trends of our time, with far-reaching long-term effects, and it is happening right in front of our eyes.
In the past, documentation has frequently been compared with librarianship, with some argument as to which comprehends the other. The field is more helpfully characterised if we take its scope to be all forms of document (i.e. any physical carrier of symbolic messages) and all aspects of their handling, from production to delivery. The document system then becomes very much wider than conventional librarianship – it includes publication and printing, distribution, some forms of telecommunication, analysis, storage, retrieval and delivery to the user.
Information systems, at any level of complexity above that of speech, necessarily involve technologies such as printing, telecommunications, or computers. However, to information science technical potentialities and constraints are of importance mainly in that they affect the social relations concerned.