Roots of Information

The underground network of tree roots provides four essential functions to maintain the health of a tree. Information management provides the roots of information quality in organizations, fulfilling vital functions to provide a sustainable environment for reliable and accessible information.

  1. Stability

Roots enable a tree to stand in the soil, supporting the tree as it grows.  Roots provide stability to the tree as it sways and bends in response to changes in the environment, such as harsh winds and heavy rain.  Information management policies provide a stable structure in which to support the growth of information in an organization.

  1. Sustenance

Tree roots absorb water and chemicals from the soil, converting them into the nutrients needed to nourish the growth and repair of the tree through its life.  Information management practices maintain and improve the quality of information, rejuvenating processes to resolve problems such as inconsistent or incomplete data that adversely affect information quality. Information management provides processes to sustain information throughout the information life cycle.

  1. Storage

Nutrients are stored in the roots of a tree providing a continued source of nourishment for the tree.  Information management is the source of standards to fuel the governance of information, addressing issues of security, consistency, quality and interoperability through the information life cycle.

  1. Size

The roots synthesize chemicals that determine the speed of tree growth.  Information management strategy assesses the status of information in the organization and establishes priorities and critical success factors for information.  The information management strategy determines the rate of information growth and breadth of information dissemination in the organization and between other approved organizations.

Tree roots can become injured by too much water, disease, or soil compaction. Similarly information management policies can become unworkable and ineffective if they are:

  • Constantly changed (watered too much).
  • Worked around and neglected (diseased).
  • Buried and forgotten about (soil compacted).

When tree roots are severely damaged, the tree cannot be sustained and has to be cut down.  When information management becomes ineffective, information becomes unwieldy, out of date, unreliable, inconsistent, and insecure.  Information management is vital to the sustainability of information in organizations.

Further Reading: the information life cycle is discussed in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3.  Information management processes to develop and maintain a healthy information environment are discussed in Chapter 5. 

Please use the following to reference this blog post in your own work:

Cox, S. A., (2014), ‘Roots of Information’, 12 December 2014,, [Date accessed: dd:mm:yy]

© 2014 Sharon A Cox