Non Documentary Sources of Information: There are mainly two types of information sources. They are: documentary and non documentary. The documents are physical sources of information that are fit for physical handling or they are the record in some physical form. The non documentary sources of information are live sources that provide information instantly. The non documentary sources of information include research organizations, societies, industries, government establishment, departments, learned and professional bodies, universities, technological institutions, etc.
The non documentary sources of information are live sources which are extremely important in the process of communication. Very often, if a scientist working on an experiment needs some information, he would turn to his / her colleague working in the same laboratory rather than to a printed page. It is easier to have a dialogue with an expert than to use a bibliography or index or card catalogue or even a consultation with a reference librarian. Non documentary sources of information provide information instantly and it is very easy to handle. The main disadvantage of non documentary sources of information is that it involves high cost when distance between the people is large and that it also demands the use of highly sophisticated techniques i.e. computer system, video conference, telephone etc.
The non documentary sources of information include government establishment, departments, universities, technological institutions, data centres, information centres, referral centres, clearing houses, consultants, technological gatekeeper, etc. Non documentary sources of information also include discussion with colleagues, visitors, participants of seminars and conferences, etc. The library through the referral service provides access to important non documentary sources of information which may include the following types:
i) Research Association: Research association may establish cooperative information centres. In such cases there is a possibility of firm to firm discussion and exchange of information between the members of an association.
ii) Learned Societies and Professional Institutions: A member of these bodies forms the core of a discipline or profession. The head quarters staff help the members personally on professional matter and sometimes they may direct the queries to the expert member of the body.
iii) Industrial Liaison Officer: These officers provide particularly the preliminary information needed to put a firm on the right track and for information which needs to be given personally and supported by practical advice in order to be fully effective. They visit firms, explore their needs and problems and help them to find solutions, sometimes directly on the spot, more often by putting them in touch with specialized sources of information and assistance or refer to some other specialists.
iv) Mass Media: Mass media is a means of communication of information through broadcasting and telecasting or a combination of these two for the masses, which is more effective than any documentary sources.