"Sources and Techniques" Title Page

Chapter 1 A Summary of Collection Work

Section One -- Establishing New Concepts of Collection Work

Due to the advancement of science and technology by leaps and bounds in current society, as well as the enormous advances in information technology, computer technology and communications technology, "the production of knowledge" is just now evolving into a national industry. The rate at which knowledge is produced, and the amount produced, have increased greatly. The speed at which knowledge is disseminated has greatly accelerated. In regard to the channels for propagating knowledge, the trend is toward the application of network technology. The forms that knowledge takes are becoming more diverse. The storage modes for knowledge are more and more characterized by the application of database technology. Storage, transmission, and activation methods are also becoming more modernized. To keep in step with these developments, the work styles and lifestyles of people will undergo a series of changes. At the same time, people are being confronted with major changes in the organizational setup and economic setup of the social production system--changes that are just now coming on the scene. The problem of how to fully and promptly make use of this knowledge to further serve mankind and the society-at-large, all under the constraints imposed by the given economic conditions, has also already become a major topic for scientific researchers. In the process of engaging in scientific and productive activities, an individual can no longer obtain the knowledge that he or she needs to solve specific problems by merely relying on the mastery of his or her own information, making simple inferences, and making decisions based on direct observations. Rather, on the basis of the large amount of raw knowledge, or information, available to him or her, the individual must utilize modern scientific approaches, including the cognitive sciences and intelligent technologies, in order to activate this information, thus producing new knowledge; that is, the knowledge that we need to obtain--intelligence.

In light of this new situation, the demands posed to S&T intelligence work by social development are new and rigorous, and represent a challenge for intelligence work. This kind of evolutionary process within the science of intelligence is bound to accelerate. Collection work serves as a link in S&T intelligence and the challenges to collection work are the most rigorous, for it is the first link to be affected. This is because information is the only source of intelligence. Information, whether it be information that can be directly perceived by humans and differentiated, or whether it be information that can only be perceived and differentiated with a machine, comprises the physical foundation for S&T intelligence. In this day and age, there is greater and greater appreciation of collection work, and the call for reform of collection work is growing ever more strong. Thus the proposition that information collection is a science and a technology arose in 1983 as the times required, and was first proposed by Professor Qian Xuesen. Shortly thereafter, the proposition that the science of information collection is a branch of intelligence science and information science was also put forward. On the other hand, there are also more and more people in collection work who are experiencing a sense of crisis in their practical experience. These people feel that traditional work modes, work methods, and work systems are in flux. These people feel that the modus operandi that has long been adhered to--that of emphasizing self-development, self-perfection, and one's own accumulation of resources, while slighting organic horizontal network connections--will be difficult to maintain any longer. As a result, these people believe there is a need for comprehensive reform of collection work from the organizational, managerial and technological standpoints. At the same time, there are also some people in collection work that have a sense of urgency regarding the formation of a body of collection science theory. These individuals believe that there must be a change in perceptions and the establishment of a series of new ideas and concepts.

As we know, for historical reasons and reasons relating to the makeup of human resources in China, information collection work, within the broader field of S&T intelligence work, carried forward and developed the body of theory, principles, methods and means from the book acquisition work within the broader field of library work. For a long period of time, information collection work continued to follow the work mode and system that libraries adopted for the acquisition of books. For a period of time, this arrangement met the needs of society during a specific period in history. Now, however, information must be collected quickly and accurately. This is because information is the hallmark of humankind's intellectual wealth. Now there are various and sundry types of information and a huge amount of it. We have had a so-called "information explosion." In addition, the ratio of machine readable information to the total amount of information is becoming greater and greater. Database throughput is skyrocketing. Information on microfilm is being received more and more favorably. The status and role of verbal information are increasing with each passing day. Furthermore, there has been a change in people's awareness of societal information. People are placing ever greater demands on the input capabilities of the intelligence system and on the social functions of collection work. All of these factors have impelled people in information collection work to face up to a new reality. They cannot but change their perceptions and establish new concepts of collecting information. Rapid change is still the order of the day as this transformation continues.

I. The Traditional Classic Concepts

1. The Perception of the Guiding Principles for Information Collection: Geared toward academic needs; "build collections" following vertical system principles; aspire to have a "large and complete" or "small and complete" collection hub; wait for consumers to come and use one's resources, in the manner of one who stands by a tree trunk waiting for a rabbit to dash himself against it.

2. The Perception of Methods of Assessing Collection Work: Consider information piece by piece; place an excessive, one-sided emphasis on the absolute amount of the information collected; gauge the quality of collection work solely on the basis of the amount of information collected.

3. The Perception of Targets of Collection: Consider only "real" materials in written form, such as books, periodicals and documents; take expansion of the collection and replenishment of the data bank as the sole goal.

4. The Perception of Collection Methods: Regard collection work merely as a highly specific, routine sort of work; very rarely or virtually never think of collection work as a science and a technology; put great emphasis on one's own accumulation of resources and on self-perfection.

5. The Perception of Collection Personnel: Believe that someone is competent to do collection work provided he or she knows a foreign language or Chinese and can count, type and check off items.

6. The Perception of Expenditures: Put too much emphasis on the "public good" aspect of collection work; become accustomed to "eating the emperor's rations" and "spending first, planning later"; neglect the role of development and management.

II. The New Evolving Concepts

1. The Perception of the Guiding Principles for Information Collection: Should be geared toward real problems; "build collections" and "build databases" following the principle of targeting; aspire to have a highly efficient, diversified network with a rational overall arrangement, parts with particular emphases, and a high degree of interconnection; actively contact consumers.

2. The Perception of Methods of Assessing Collection Work: In addition to considering quantity quotas, we should make the assessment of collection work capabilities our point of departure, considering whether the work is scientific, targeted, and prompt, and whether it can solve consumers' problems; should consider knowledge parcel by parcel and put more emphasis on the relative amount of knowledge that has been collected.

3. The Perception of Targets of Collection: In addition to collecting "real" information, should also collect "virtual" leads or information, "combining the virtual and the real" in collection work; in addition to collecting information on paper, should also stress the collection of information on magnetic media, in electromagnetic waves, in the form of acoustic images, and on microfilm; in addition to building "data banks," should also build "databases."

4. The Perception of Collection Methods: Regard collection work as a branch of learning, a science and a technology; make use of methods drawn from systems theory and cybernetics; carry forward research on information sources and intelligence sources, consumer demand, transmission channels, and technologies for obtaining information; establish a scientific, open collection system.

5. The Perception of Collection Personnel: Collection work can only be done well if there is a contingent of collection personnel which features a rational distribution of knowledge and technical posts among workers, rapid response to consumer demand, strong network management and planning capabilities, and excellent ability to cull knowledge.

6. The Perception of Expenditures: In addition to relying on government appropriations, "eating the emperor's rations," and seeking social benefits that serve a public good, should also engage in development and management activities and strive for economic efficiency; should change from "spending first, planning later" to "planning first, spending later."

III. Accelerating the Change in Concepts

Although traditional and conventional perceptions of S&T information collection practices and activities have been influenced by library science, it is true that S&T information collection has to some degree carried forward, enhanced and developed the foundation provided by book acquisition work. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that S&T information collection still bears the clear marks of library science and library work.

Henceforth, while information collection work, within the broader field of S&T intelligence, will continue to have a complementary relationship with and be closely interconnected with book and periodical acquisition within the broader field of library work as far as their theories and actual practices are concerned, we should also recognize that traditional collection concepts and modus operandi are unable to fully meet the demands posed by current and future economic construction and national defense construction. As a result, we must now have a new appreciation for S&T information collection activities and collection work, establish new collection concepts, and transform collection work. This transformation of collection work will be carried out with an eye to assembling the intellectual wealth of humanity and from the standpoint of knowledge engineering. It will be carried out while the establishment and shaping of intelligence science, information science and collection science is being driven forward, and in an environment characterized by the transformation of the S&T intelligence cause from a traditional model to an industrial model. With the advent of the new industrial revolution as China also steps into the information society; with the deepened reform of China's economic system of organization and S&T system of organization; facing the challenge posed by mankind's pressing need to develop and utilize information resources--the internal structure and distinctive levels within collection work will, of necessity, be subject to gradual, timely adjustments. A series of transformations will also of necessity take place in the operational mechanisms. All of this will result in continual development and innovation in collection work, and will lead the work to become ever more scientific.

Section Two -- Information, Intelligence and the Target of Collection

Since we are dealing with collection work and problems that pertain to information science and collection science, we must first clarify what the target of collection is. Is it intelligence, or is it information? Is collection work the job of collecting intelligence, or the job of collecting information? Proposing the question in this way not only involves the basic theory of information science and collection science, it more practically touches on the purpose and orientation of collection work.

I. Information Is Not Intelligence

In their daily life and work, people often mix up and confuse "intelligence" and "information." This is undoubtedly because the production, transmission, and utilization of intelligence can never be separated from information. Intelligence work thus embraces information work. Unanimity has yet to be reached in different quarters as to the semantic difference between intelligence and information. Historically, information work has had a blood relationship to library work. If, during the historical stage characterized by intelligence activities, we certainly could mix up information and intelligence; and if, during the historical stage characterized by intelligence work, we still could get away with mixing up information and intelligence; then, in the historical stage characterized by intelligence as a science and a technology, we certainly must clearly differentiate information and intelligence, both from a theoretical standpoint and from the standpoint of practical experience. This is because there has been a huge increase in knowledge-related products, the intellectual wealth of mankind has greatly increased, and the structure of S&T intelligence work has become more clear cut in terms of its distinctive levels. There are currently a considerable number of people who appreciate the fact that, even though information is the primary source and basic vector for intelligence, information nevertheless is not intelligence. It is necessary to go through a catalyzing and activating process in order to extract intelligence from information. Moreover, the activation of information is yet another science and technology that awaits further development. People are gradually coming to appreciate the need to make a conceptual differentiation between intelligence and information, reflecting the fact that the social function of intelligence is now undergoing a transformation, that intelligence science is maturing with each passing day, and that development of the intelligence cause is just now undergoing a transition from the stage characterized by intelligence work to the stage characterized by intelligence as a science and a technology. Only in this way can information science research be carried forward, because only information itself is fit to be the object of information science research. Moreover, only in this way can collection work, (which is within the broader intelligence work setup), completely extricate itself from the influence of traditional acquisition work (which is within the broader library work setup), so as to open up new prospects with a brand-new look, establish a physical foundation for S&T intelligence work that is both firm and flexible, and go on to expand research work in the field of collection science.

Changes in the names of certain national defense S&T intelligence units reflect the growing appreciation that people have--or at least that the relevant authorities under the responsible leaders have--of the difference between intelligence and information. When these work units were first set up, they were called "Information Research Institutes." During the period of economic readjustment they were called "Intelligence and Information Research Institutes." During the recent period of development, their names were changed to "Intelligence Research Institutes." The change in name reflects a change in what is connoted by national defense S&T intelligence. It reflects that there has been a shift in the work's focus and that differentiations between various levels of the work are more clear cut.

A basic thesis and a basic point of departure for all of the discussions in this book is that information is not intelligence. Our perspective is that information, in a broad sense, is knowledge that has been put into material form, and that information, in a narrow sense, is knowledge that has been put into the form of symbols. Intelligence is knowledge that is needed to solve specific problems. Intelligence is particular knowledge that has been extracted from information. Information is the source from which intelligence is extracted--the substrate and raw material that is activated in order to produce knowledge. We will specifically deal with the definition, types, attributes and functions of information in chapter 3.

II. The Basic Target of Collection Is Information, Not Intelligence

As we know, collection is the first of the three links in intelligence work. Collection is the first of the three levels of intelligence work. If information is not intelligence, then is the target of collection intelligence or information? In view of the fact that "intelligence" and "information" are different in their natures, attributes and functions, information, not intelligence, ought to be the target of collection work, even though the ultimate goal of intelligence work is to obtain intelligence. The work should be information collection, not intelligence collection.

We put forth this thesis because intelligence is knowledge that is produced from activated information and targeted toward specific problems. In addition, the specific knowledge that is connoted by information can only be drawn out, synthesized and analyzed by means of the mutual effect of the human mind upon information and information upon the human mind, as well as by means of cognitive activities. The primary task of collection work within the broader modern S&T intelligence setup is to collect information that serves as an intelligence source, and to provide raw knowledge for intelligence analysis and synthesis work. Clearly, then, the target of collection is information, not intelligence. It is both unnecessary and unfeasible to demand that collection work embrace both the collection of information and the collection of intelligence; moreover, it is becoming more and more unrealistic. Therefore, our understanding of collection work should be that it is information collection work, not intelligence collection work; viz., the work of collecting information, not the work of collecting intelligence.

Is it possible to directly collect intelligence in the current real working environment? This was very much possible in the case of specific problems that were encountered by specific people during the historical stage characterized by intelligence activities, when the level of S&T was not yet high, the intellectual wealth of mankind was not yet abundant, and the amount of knowledge was not yet great. However, now it is indeed more difficult to directly collect intelligence geared to a problem, when humankind's intellectual wealth has so abruptly increased and the amount of knowledge being produced is growing exponentially. Of course, China's current S&T intelligence work is yet in a transition stage from the stage characterized by intelligence work to the stage characterized by intelligence as a science and a technology, and the intelligence system is still not organized rationally. On top of that, for various reasons related to perceptions and policies, people are ever wanting to obtain intelligence directly, and moreover are sometimes successful at doing it. However, this course of action is really very inefficient, and a good example of biting off more than one can chew.

Section Three -- Sources of Intelligence and Sources of Information

Up to the current time, there has been some discussion in China and abroad in regard to sources of intelligence. However, most of this discussion has been based on the premise that there is no distinction between intelligence and information, and has examined the question using research methods that follow traditional bibliographical science methods and library science methods. The task that is currently confronting S&T intelligence workers and S&T information collection workers is the need to analyze the question of intelligence sources using modern scientific methods while regarding collection work as a branch of learning and looking at matters from the standpoint of "information science" and "collection science."

Currently, there is a great deal of disagreement as to the concept and definition of the "intelligence sources" that people generally speak of. For example, there is the saying in regard to "documents" that they provide "the ten major intelligence sources." Admittedly, this saying conformed to reality during the period when S&T documents were the primary and most basic source for obtaining S&T intelligence. However, in this age when there are more diverse vectors for knowledge, and particularly when the role of databases is becoming more and more prominent, we need to promote the evolution of this kind of perception of intelligence sources beyond the foundation that has been passed down to us. This is not to mention the fact that, once a distinction is made between intelligence and information, such a distinction necessitates a fresh understanding of certain concepts of intelligence sources. To sum up, the inherited perception of intelligence sources has already proven inadequate to explain intelligence S&T activities and guide the development of S&T intelligence work.

Since, as we know, intelligence stems from information, this very naturally raises questions pertaining to information sources. Who produces the needed information, and where and when is it produced? What are the laws that govern the production of information, what modes is it stored in, what are the channels for transmitting it, and what are techniques for obtaining it? What is the status quo and what are the development trends? These are all questions that must be touched on when studying information sources. The study of information sources is one of the key constituents of information science and collection science research.

To be able to draw out the concept of information sources from the concept of intelligence sources reflects the more profound understanding that people now have of intelligence science and intelligence practice. If we take another look at the various former concepts regarding intelligence sources, basing our assessment on the fundamental perspective that information is not intelligence and intelligence is knowledge that is extracted from information in order to solve specific problems, we will find that these former concepts all have inaccuracies, not only from a semantic standpoint, but also from the standpoint of what they connote. We will also find that it is difficult to reconcile these old concepts with the demands posed by the development of information science.

The basic perspectives of this book in regard to intelligence sources and information sources are as follows: intelligence sources are what intelligence stems from; intelligence stems from information and information therefore is an intelligence source; and information sources are any systems that are used to transmit, produce, hold, or propagate information. One of the emphases of this book is a discussion of national defense S&T intelligence sources and national defense S&T information sources. This discussion will be developed in Chapter 4.

Section Four -- The Substance of Information Collection Work

The substance of information collection from the operational and research standpoints is far more complex, rich, broad and deep than the man in the street imagines. This is because this is a problem within the broader field of human knowledge engineering, and a systems engineering problem involving the assemblage, transmission and provision of mankind's intellectual wealth. However, sad to say, generally speaking we now lack specialized writings as well as theories that have universal application, whether we are speaking in regard to the operational aspect or the research aspect of information collection. We are still stuck in a stage in which information collection is regarded merely as ordinary day-to-day work. Few are enthusiastic about establishing a science of collection, and the majority are indifferent. Judging from the current rate of advancement, we will have to wait until the 21st century before we can fundamentally change the situation.

I. The Goals, Functions and Significance of Information Collection

Information is the physical foundation for all of intelligence work. Information collection is the first level and the first link in intelligence work, and it embodies the input capabilities of the entire intelligence system. Without information collection, the work of ordering and activation that is associated with the production of knowledge would degenerate into trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

The practical goals of information collection are to: be problem oriented; adhere to the principle of targeting; promote the use of both "real" and "virtual" information; have a good grasp of information leads; and collect information in its various media manifestations.

Some of the information that is collected must go through an ordering process before being incorporated into a data bank; some of it must go through a formatting process before being incorporated into a database; and some of it is provided to the consumer after going through a catalyzing process.

Many monographs in the field of intelligence science have touched upon a general explanation of the goals, functions and significance of information collection work; therefore, we will not go into unnecessary details in this volume.

II. The Substance of Information Collection from an Operational Standpoint

The collection of information is a widely prevalent social phenomenon among mankind. As society advances, understanding of the substance of collection work from an operational standpoint steadily deepens. Consequently, collection techniques and methods are also continuously advancing. Now the problems posed by the practice of collection work far exceed what people generally take them to be; that is, current problems go beyond the problems within the "operational scope of acquisition", such as merely "selecting topics" and "purchasing books."

1. Gradually Shape and Establish the Basic Theory for Information Collection; that is, "Collection Science," as Well as the Related "Information Science." The theory of information collection is the theory that deals with the universal laws that govern the entire process of information collection. It is a body of scientific theory that deals with the universal principles and methods that pertain to the production, transmission, acquisition and selection of information. Collection theory involves general theory pertaining to intelligence science and informatics, and also particular theory that pertains to information collection. The first proposal of a discipline of information science within the broader field of intelligence science may be credited to Professor Qian Xuesen in July of 1983, less than ten years ago.

2. Study Intelligence Sources and Information Sources; Master the Laws that Govern Developmental Changes in the Production of Information. Knowledge stems from the human mind. Information is knowledge in material form and is the source of intelligence. A person can be an information source manifestation, as can an institution. Information source research and development is the basis for doing information collection work well. For reasons pertaining to secrecy, research on national defense S&T information sources is more difficult than research on ordinary information sources. When studying intelligence sources, in addition to studying document sources, we must also pay attention to non-document sources. We should use modern methodologies from the natural sciences when studying information sources, stressing research on the status and output characteristics of information sources. Admittedly, investigation and study of book title catalogues is an important way of studying intelligence sources and information sources. However, with the evolution of collection science technology, the limitations of such an approach are becoming more and more evident.

3. Carry out Research on Consumer Demand for Intelligence. Research on consumer demand for intelligence is the basis for information collection and is one of the key research areas in collection science. Without consumer demand, collection loses its significance. The study of the characteristics of consumer demand for intelligence and the laws that govern developmental changes in consumer demand comprise the basic subject matter of research on consumer demand for intelligence. The difficulty with research on consumer demand lies in the fact that hardly any consumers are skillful or adept at communicating their real needs in an accurate manner at the drop of a hat. Sometimes military S&T intelligence consumers are still unwilling to express their real needs. It is forecasted that this problem will become even more acute vis-a-vis important consumers' near-term needs, and especially vis-a-vis their mid- and long-term needs. Currently, the primary method for studying consumer demand is still the direct or indirect survey method. The use of mathematical or systems approaches is still not widespread enough.

4. Develop and Use Transmission Channels. If we wish to transmit information between the information source and the collection worker or collection department, then we must develop and use information channels. We are not limited to just one kind of usable transmission channel, and the special transmission characteristics of each kind of transmission channel are unique. Nowadays, the collection worker must choose the most suitable channel to use to collect the needed information, based on the consumer's particular needs and the type of information being collected. When investigating what information collection channel to use, he or she should consider the speed with which the channel transmits information, the channel's capacity, its anti-interference capabilities, whether there are specialized spectral bandwidths, the channel's secrecy and any extra charges that are involved. We certainly must adhere to the principle of cooperation when developing information transmission channels, since utilization of a channel is often not limited merely to intelligence departments. As to the transmission channels for national defense S&T information, overt transmission channels may be used as well as covert transmission channels, and military transmission channels may be used as well as civilian transmission channels.

5. Cull Information at All Times. One of the important constituents of information collection is selecting information according to the type of information and the information content. This is also a key acquisition technique. Only by sifting, differentiating and selecting information can the direction and the amount of information flowing from the information source to the information collection department, information processing department or information consumer be controlled. The work of selecting information is constant which goes on daily and hourly. The selection of information must proceed according to fixed collection policies and fixed collection limits. In addition, the "bang for the buck" should be considered and selection should center on the consumer's intelligence needs. As far as basic selection methods in information collection work, a distinction is to be made between directional selection and topical selection. Today, there is a vast amount of information of various and sundry types. The subject matter, amount and forms of information that are available for selection are constantly expanding. In addition, the increasingly indistinct and dynamic nature of consumer demand, as well as other factors such as the quality of collection personnel, pose very great difficulties to selection work. Moreover, national defense S&T intelligence needs are becoming more integrated with each passing day; often various military, S&T and economic factors must be considered simultaneously, making the already difficult work of selection yet more difficult.

6. Establish Intelligence Source and Information Source Databases; Compile Manuals for Searching Out Intelligence Source Leads and Information Source Leads. Currently, configurations for information storage are becoming more and more characterized by the application of network technology. With social phenomena such as the increasing diversity of intelligence needs and ever increasing demands for promptness and convenience, if collection work continues to adhere to the operational principle of merely collecting "real" information in order to replenish data bank collections, it will find it difficult to adapt to the demands posed by social progress. In addition to "real" information, we should also collect information that pertains to pertinent intelligence sources and information sources, establish databases for "virtual" leads, compile and print various manuals and reference books for searching out leads, and develop intelligence source and information source consulting services that can serve as a "road map" and guide to the user.

7. Carry out Research on Information Collection Methods as well as Acquisition Techniques, Know-How and Skills. Only by the use of appropriate methods and advanced techniques can we assure both the accurate and prompt collection of information and information leads and a high degree of efficiency in collection work. Acquisition know-how and skills, which are very closely connected to personal experience and attainments, can sometimes play an important, or even crucial, role. Communications techniques, electronic computer techniques and storage techniques are gradually being adopted in collection work. However, current appreciation of the need to study collection methods, techniques and know-how is, on the whole, highly inadequate. Then again, people may think of collection work as simply "making purchases for an organization," or they may have romantic notions of "obtaining information through espionage."

8. Study the Management and Organization of Collection Work. The management of collection work embraces collection policy management, management of the guiding principles for collection, collection planning management, collection technology management, management of the organization of collection work, collection quality management, management of the collection system, and management of collection personnel. When assessing management work, in addition to considering indices measuring performance, efficiency and achieved benefits, one should also consider indices measuring how scientific the work is as well as economic aspects of the work.

The following four points must be considered when organizing collection work:

(1) Organization should be carried out in accordance with the idea that information collection work is a science and a technology, and not in accordance with the idea that it is merely a "nuts and bolts" type of work.

(2) Information collection work should be organized in accordance with systems principles and be regarded as a social activity. This overall social entity that is called a collection system is a complex system that is composed of various types of work units that cover an extremely wide range and are spread all over the world, but each of which is also independent and has its own unique form. A collection system is not merely a system that is comprised of simply a few people or a few departments.

(3) Information collection should be organized in accordance with the demands posed by an open loop system. The collection system must often implement information and message exchanges with information sources, information consumers and information environments. Collection work cannot be organized according to the closed loop system principles of "large and complete" or "small and complete."

(4) Collection work should be organized in accordance with the demands posed by dynamic systems. The properties and functions of collection systems change over time. As soon as a collection activity has been carried out, it is necessary to immediately analyze and study any feedback that has been received from the information consumer and adjust the collection process in a timely manner, thus improving the work of collection. A work unit cannot control the collection process by simply increasing the size of its collection.

Section Five -- Theoretical Approaches to Guiding Collection Work

As of now, the broad mass of S&T workers, S&T intelligence workers and information collection workers have a considerable amount of practical experience as to how to collect information. Moreover, in a partial and local sense, they have mastered a set of practical collection methods, and are yet in the process of continuously exploring new collection models. However, from a methodological standpoint, the problems of how to scientifically and quantitatively summarize the universal laws pertaining to collection methods and how to guide collection work via theoretical approaches--all in the light of collection science--are still far from being solved. Moreover, at this point, we are merely at the stage of just becoming aware that this problem needs to be addressed. It may be said that, up to now, we have been unable to establish any mathematical models for collection methods, and that we have yet to propose a theoretical approach that would enable us to choose the best collection activity from among a variety of possible collection activities. The question of whether search theory can provide one theoretical approach to collection would seem to be well worth investigating from a developmental standpoint.

I. Search Theory

The problem of information collection is, in essence, a search problem. Humans are well versed in searching behavior. Search problems are widespread in human social life. "Searching" refers to the process of planning and implementing a search for a target. Searching first became an object of scientific research as a result of military operations needs, and the first foundations of search theory first appeared in the military field.

Search theory is a branch of operations research. It is a kind of mathematical approach that concerns itself with how to rationally utilize means such as human resources, material resources, financial resources and time in order to obtain the most favorable search results in the process of searching for a certain kind of target.

Search problems are extremely complex. Not only do search problems involve the searching entity, the search target, the means used in the search, and search technologies and equipment, they also touch upon the search environment. In addition, each kind of search is subject to its own set of constraints imposed by physical procedures, time and various prerequisites. Therefore, the question of how to formulate the best search strategy and plan out a course of action--all in light of the given situation--is an extremely complex problem. For these reasons, search theory has yet to evolve systems theories and fixed models. We must carry out research and tests aimed at specific problems if we are to formulate indices with which to measure search results and formulate various types of feasible strategies and action plans. Moreover, these various strategies and plans must be assessed so that the best plan can be selected from among them.

If we require that the problem of information collection be handled from the standpoint that it is a science and a technology, then the information collection problem is also exceptionally complex. In the first place, in regard to information, which is the target of collection, there is that information that can be directly perceived and differentiated by people, such as printed information, information on microfilm, information in the form of acoustic images, oral information, and information in the form of material objects. Then there is that information which can only be perceived and differentiated by a machine, such as modulated electromagnetic waves, magnetic tapes, magnetic disks, phonograph records, optical disks and holograms. The natures, roles, forms and amounts of these various kinds of information are quite different. In the second place, information sources can be further divided into information sources that produce information, information sources that hold information and information sources that propagate information. Each of these information sources is unique in terms of motility and output characteristics. Moreover, they are in a dynamic state. In the third place, the means of collecting information include administrative means, legal means, economic means, interpersonal interaction means, social service means, telecommunications means, and clandestine acquisition means. Channels for transmitting information can be of the linked type, the centralized type, the closed loop type or the interactive type, etc. Collection means come in all shapes and colors, depending on the information source and how the information is accessed, and also depending on energy considerations and the laws that govern transmission of the information. Finally, it goes without saying that whether useful information can be collected or not depends on the characteristics of consumer intelligence demand, the awareness of the role of intelligence in the society at large, the intelligence environment, collection capabilities, and the abilities of collection personnel. In regard to this kind of complex problem, seeking the best collection plan, based on the consumer's needs and applying search theory methods, will clearly be a task of considerable difficulty. At present, when a plan is being established, the planners often depend on the experience of a certain individual, so that the collection results are largely a matter of chance.

During this "information explosion" age, the matter of how to develop theoretical approaches so as to find a preliminary solution to the problem of seeking out specific needed information in the vast ocean of knowledge is a problem of major importance which collection science researchers need to solve without a moment's delay.

II. Classification of Search Problems

1. Classification According to the Goal of the Search

(1) The Inspection Search: This is a search carried out under conditions where one does not have information regarding the position of the target at a given moment in time. In terms of collection work, then, this is collection carried out when one does not know if the needed information is located at a given information source at a given moment in time. This may be called "inspection-type collection" or "scanning-type collection."

(2) The Follow-Up Search: This is a search carried out under conditions where one does have information regarding the target at a given moment in time. In terms of collection work, then, this is collection carried out when one already knows that the needed information is located at a given information source at a given moment in time. This may be called "tracking-type collection."

(3) The [Communication] Line Search: This is a search carried out under conditions where one does have information regarding a line section that may lie in the track of a target and that a target may cross over into. In terms of collection work, then, this is collection carried out when one already knows that the needed information may appear in a given transmission channel section. This may be called "surveillance-type collection."

2. Classification According to the Manner of the Search

(1) The Area Search: This normally refers to a search for a target that is presumed to be in an entire predetermined area. In terms of collection work, then, this is collection carried out when the needed information is presumed to be in a certain class or kind of information. This may be called "set collection" or "complete set collection."

(2) The Scattered Point Search: This is a search for targets that are scattered. In terms of collection work, then, this is collection carried out under conditions where distribution of the needed information is scattered. For the most part, this may be called "topical collection."

III. Measuring Search Results

In search theory, capability indices and probability indices for the search serve as the norms for evaluating search efficiency.

At present in collection work we still do not have a set of methods for scientifically measuring collection work results. People are still following the custom of measuring collection work results by the absolute amount of information collected or by whether a certain individual states that the information is useful. This is not scientific in the strict sense of the term. From now on, we should use numerical probability values to assess collection work. For example: the probability of collecting the needed information within the period of time stipulated by the consumer; the mathematical expectation of the amount of the needed information that will be collected within the period of time stipulated by the consumer; and the mathematical expectation of the amount of time required to collect the needed information, etc. Looking at the matter from the point of view of the information consumer, demanding that there be a 100% probability of the collection worker collecting the needed information is unrealistic.

On to Chapter Two