1. Introduction: In the popularly understood sense of the term communication refers to anything from a face to face conversion between two person, conversion over the telephone, and correspondence between friends. The transmission of programmes on live television broadcast via communication satellite i.e. received by millions of people.
2. Elements of Communication: The communication process requires at least three elements.
i) Source: The source is a point at which message originates. It can be an individual or an organization, a human being or a machine.
ii) Message: The message may be in audible, visual or tactile form, as any signal capable of meaningful interpretation.
iii) Destination: The destination or recipient, which again can be a person or a group of persons, in a final link in the communication chain - the intended target of the message.
3. Media and Forms of Communication: There is a distinct difference between communication of information and communication of commodities, energy, heat, etc i.e. one’s own stock of information or knowledge is not going to diminish by communicating to other. Thus the ownership of information may multiply but not change hands like a physical commodity. Further one can communicate information which he does not have eg. about one’s own behavior.
Following is a list of forms of communication with channels of disseminating information. Though they are given in isolation here, quite often two or more channels may be used together for effective communication and the channels of dissemination may form a series of alternative routes, through the total communication system.
3.1 Oral Communication / Informal Communication: Oral communication is one of the oldest medium of communication of information and is speedier. The oral communication is generally called as informal communication.
According to Ban – Hillel, oral transmission can be analysed into the following technical stages-
i) A concept, statement, preposition, postulates etc is formulated mentally.
ii) The mental formulation is expressed in words.
iii) The words are spoken that is they are expressed by the complicated larynx, tongue and lip position of speech.
iv) The vibration set up a sound wave that is transmitted through the air.
White has referred to informal communication as interactive as it involves a direct interaction between the source of information and the recipient.
Oral communications are of the following types-
i) One person to one person: Example: a face to face talk or by phone, chat, etc.
ii) One person to several: Example: a group or committee meeting, conference, teleconference, video conference, etc.
iii) Several person to several: Example: A group discussion, conversation, etc.
a) Advantages of Informal Communication: The following are the some of the advantages of informal communication
i) Promptness: The face to face or telephone conversation, personal correspondence, and preprint exchange, all of which are faster than dissemination through the formal channels.
ii) Selectivity: Formal journals are designed to reach large audiences and therefore cannot be sensitive to individual need. Information transmitted through the informal channel is specifically meant for an individual recipient or a small group.
iii) Interactive Communication: In the informal context example telephone conversation, continuous interaction between the supplier and receiver of information is possible. This facility is very difficult to achieve in the formal channels.
iv) Screening and Evaluation: In the informal communication system the supplier provides evaluated and predigested information that can be readily used by the recipient.
v) Transmission of Ineffable: In the informal mode a scientist may not hesitate to communicate opinions and experiences which are too personal to be communicated through formal channels.
vi) Personal Appeal: Scientist communicating in the informal mode can established a personal rapport among themselves. This is difficult to achieve in the formal channel.
3.2 Formal Channel of Communication / Verbal Communication: The formal channel of communication is very effective way of storing and preserving the available information and knowledge in a very handy manner. Formal communication is non interactive and also known as documentary communication or verbal communication. The formal channel of communication is of the following types.
i) Written (Manuscripts): Exchange of practical note book, preprints and reprints among scientists fall under this category.
ii) Printed: The newspapers, newsletter, journal, book, state of art report, etc fall under this category.
iii) Audio – Video: It consists of picture, charts, maps, slide, video tapes, CD, DVD, Magnetic tapes, etc.
3.3 Exception Cases: There are many exception of formal and informal communication. They are
i) Correspondence: Correspondence is a written form of communication but it is generally treated as informal rather than formal channel of communication.
ii) Professional Conference: It is both formal and informal. It is formal in the sense that it involves formal organization. There will be presentation of formal papers and it frequently results in some formal publication. It is informal in the sense- it provides greater opportunity for personnel communication among individual.
iii) Mass Media: Radio, television film which are able to bring the information as soon as it occur to the mass.
iv) Telecommunication and Satellite Communication: The online resources, though they are formal but are interactive in nature.
4. Barriers of Communication: The barriers to communication of information can broadly be grouped into the following categories-
a) Institutional Impediment: There are three basic institutional impediments. These are -
i) Status of a person and organization: Information mainly flows among equal level of status. It is very difficult for person of lower status to enter into such network of information.
ii) Structural (Hierarchical): Information flows from top to bottom or from bottom to top level in administrative hierarchy.
iii) Secrecy (Fear of Losing): Managers and officials sometimes fear that if they provide the information to somebody else their own secrets will be lost.
b) Financial: Financial barriers are of the following types
i) Rising cost in production of document: It reduced the production of the documents and reduced the purchasing power of the user.
ii) Postal and other transportation charges
iii) Cost in running libraries and information centres pushed libraries to shift from free services to fee based service.
iv) Currency exchange and import controls: Some countries have import restrictions for certain classes of literature.
v) Dwindling Budgets: The dwindling budget of libraries and individual toward information procurements.
vi) Royalties: The scope of royalties increases the price of the literature.
c) Technical: The technical barriers can be of the following types-
i) Poor presentation of documentary products.
ii) Less number of copies.
iii) Lack of special system / equipment: Certain classes of documents need special equipment for reading or viewing. Example: Microfilm / fiche.
iv) Complicated System: The complicated nature of system needs lot of patience and practice to get the required information.
v) Lack of Awareness: Many of the users are not aware as to what services are available and what service can provide him the needed information.
vi) Underqualified staff of libraries / documentation centres.
vii) Lack of proper organizational structure.
viii) Lack of bibliographical control tool.
d) Linguistic: The linguistic barriers can be of the following types
i) Inter linguistic problem
ii) Intra language problem: Jargon such an neologism (coining or using of new words), synonyms (words that have similar meaning), acronyms (words formed from the initial letter of a name), etc.
e) Psychological and Social: Psychological characteristic of user i.e. unwillingness to changes, question of prestige, shyness, selfishness, ignorance, traditional boundaries, mistrust, etc.
f) Administrative and Political: The closed societies who allow very little information to cross their border or allow very little information to flow in.