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


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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