[Air-l] is Internet a '"source" or a "medium"? - ignorant's question

Maciej Kos kos at gnu.univ.gda.pl
Mon Apr 9 03:06:09 PDT 2007

Dear All,

Please excuse my ignorant question about the difference in meanings between a
"source" and a "medium". Even though I would really like to study Information
science or Communications [and with God's help I will], I haven't yet had any
opportunity to do so and what I know is based on papers freely available
online as well as in Elsevier's database. My background is Economics. To make
things worst, I am not a native speaker.

I was reading a paper written by a colleague of mine and noticed that she uses
two words: a "medium" and a "source" as synonyms. For her the Internet is both
a source and a medium of information.

According to the Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science a
"medium" is 

"information storage and retrieval, the physical substance or material on
which data is recorded (parchment, paper, film, magnetic tape or disk, optical
disk, etc.) or through which data is transmitted (optical fiber, coaxial
cable, twisted pair, etc.). In a more general sense, the material or technical
means by which any creative work is expressed or communicated, in print or
nonprint format (...)".

while a "source" is 

"Any document that provides information sought by a writer, researcher,
library user, or person searching an online catalog or bibliographic database.
Also refers to a document that provides information copied or reproduced in
another document, for example, a quotation or excerpt."

The same dictionary states that the "Internet" is a 
"The high-speed fiber-optic network of networks"; so it is not a "document
that provides information (...)"

However, I came across a lot of publications where the authors seem not to
distinguish between "medium" and "source".

As I said, I am not a native speaker - could you tell, if these two meanings
have merged and I am simply pedantic or shall I follow the above definitions?
Or perhaps there is a reason for using these to words as synonyms? Could you
explain it to me, please ?

Kind regards,

I am looking for an academic mentor. 

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