Packaging Knowledge:
An Information Continuum

Hari Srinivas
Policy Analysis Series E-086. June 2015.
  1. Abstracts
  2. Acronyms
  3. Addresses
  4. Advertisements
  5. Advice
  6. Alerts
  7. Announcements
  8. Archives
  9. Artwork
  10. Atlas
  11. Audio
  12. Awards
  13. Best Practices
  14. Bibliographies
  15. Biographies
  16. Books
  17. Briefs
  18. Brochures
  19. Bulletins
  20. Calendar
  21. Cartoons
  22. Case Studies
  23. Catalogues
  24. Cause-and-effect
  25. CD-ROMs
  26. Charts
  27. Checklists
  28. Chronicles
  29. Collections
  30. Columns
  31. Commentaries
  33. Concepts
  34. Courses
  35. Data
  36. Databases
  37. Definitions
  38. Demonstrations
  39. Designs
  40. Diaries
  41. Dictionaries
  42. Directories
  43. Documents
  44. Drawings
  45. Editorial
  46. Email
  47. Encyclopaedia
  48. Essays
  49. Events
  50. Examples
  51. Excerpts
  52. Exercises
  53. Exhibitions
  54. Extracts
  55. Fact Sheets
  56. FAQs
  57. Feedback
  58. Films
  59. Findings
  60. Fliers
  61. Flip-charts
  62. Forecasts
  63. Forums
  64. Frameworks
  65. Glossaries
  66. Good Practices
  67. Graphics
  68. Guidelines
  69. Guides
  70. Handouts
  71. Headlines
  72. Highlights
  73. Hypotheses
  74. Ideas
  75. Images
  76. Indicators
  77. Insights
  78. Introductions
  1. Issues
  2. Jokes
  3. Journals
  4. Keywords
  5. Lectures
  6. Letters
  7. Links
  8. Lists
  9. Manuals
  10. Maps
  11. Media Advisories
  12. Messages
  13. Methods
  14. Models
  15. Modules
  16. Namecards
  17. Newsletters
  18. Newspapers
  19. Notes
  20. Notices
  21. One-pagers
  22. Opinions
  23. Outlines
  24. Overviews
  25. Pamphlets
  26. Papers
  27. Patterns
  28. Periodicals
  29. Photographs
  30. Plans
  31. Posters
  32. Practices, best/good
  33. Presentations
  34. Press Kits
  35. Profiles
  36. Prototypes
  37. Questions
  38. Recommendations
  39. References
  40. Reports
  41. Reviews
  42. Samples
  43. Scenarios
  44. Screenshots
  45. Series
  46. Showcases
  47. Sketches
  48. Slides
  49. Snapshots
  50. Software
  51. Solutions
  52. Speeches
  53. Spotlight
  54. Standards
  55. Statements
  56. Statistics
  57. Stories
  58. Strategies
  59. Studies
  60. Suggestions
  61. Summaries
  62. Survey
  63. Systems
  64. Tables
  65. Talks
  66. Testimonials
  67. Themes
  68. Timelines
  69. Tools
  70. Topics
  71. Trends
  72. Tutorials
  73. Updates
  74. Videos
  76. Websites
  77. White papers
  78. Workbooks
  79. Working Papers >


he value of knowledge can be realized only when it is disseminated and shared - and used. The objective of this document is to list out the various formats in which knowledge can be packaged and discuss the circumstances under which these formats are used.

The collection listed below is broad. Some focus on the format of presentation, and some on the content of the message. Some use graphics to deliver the message, some use text. Some present the message in listed points or in summary/abstract format, some in descriptive/verbose format. Some formats are temporal, short-term or long-term, others atemporal. Some formats are specificaly developed for online dissemination environments, others offline - still others are appropriate for both environments.

The collection is therefore a continuum, an information continuum, where the position of an information format changes as the defining scales of the continuum itself change. The scales could be - size of the target audience, volume of info to be disseminated etc. Selecting an appropriate information packging format depends on a number of factors: (a) the problem or issue being addressed, (b) the decision-making process, (c) the information user/stakeholder - type as well as number of users, (d) the level/scale at which the activities are taking place, (e) the intended effect of providing the information, and (f) the medium through which the information is delivered.

Study the list carefully. Try to associate the format with the information in hand - and see how the message changes its 'digestability' depending on the format used. And answer the following questions: what is the message that is being delivered? What appripriate medium can be used for the purpose? Who are the target audience (including the type of audience, number and scale at which they function)? When, where and how is the actual dissemination to take place? The answer to these and related questions will help in selecting the appropriate format!

The same body of data can be used for different dissemination purposes, by modifiying the information format used.

The list is in no way complete or exhaustive. The list was developed by scanning websites, library materials, newsletters and bulletins etc. Some may seem silly ('jokes'), or inappropriate ('spotlights' or talks'), or not quite an info format ('acronyms'), or simply the same ('snapshots' and 'photos'). But the objective behind this list is not to document or list all information formats, but to emphasize the need to think differently. Information dissemination is done not just through a 'book' or 'report' (yes, both are included in the list!) - but there are many, many other ways in which info can be presented, depending on the intended effect. Thus the same body of data or information can have totally different effects on its users, depending on the format used.

This approach is epitomised by the 'information pyramid'. Usually, only the top 'finished' information is visible or disseminated. Other interim formats, including the base - raw data - is simply not used and is lost except for the people actually generating the data. But these interim stages of information is equally important to create different types of useage and intended effects on the target audience.

Needless to say, if you have an addition to the above list, please do send it to Hari Srinivas at

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