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Next: The characterisation by a Up: Modules Previous: The domain-oriented characterisation

   
4.2.4 The characterisation by the range of the information

The characterisation of the information by its `range' indicates in how wide an area the authors suppose the information will play a role, in other words, how widely applicable the information and its representation in a module are.

The characterisation of the information by its range is a characterisation of the way in which a concept is used in publications; a concept remains the same regardless of the scope in which it is relevant. Concentrating information with a similar range in the same module can facilitate multiple use and thereby increase the efficiency of the communication process. Furthermore, characterising the information from this point of view informs the reader of the status of the information and its representation in a module.

Generally, the research that an individual article reports on is part of a larger, coherent research endeavour. Key information in such a research project and its representation in a module are applicable to more than one article issuing from that project. Some information units are even more widely applicable and play a role on the level of the field in general. Consequently, we distinguish three ranges following this type of characterisation.

1.
Microscopic  information plays a role in that part of the research which is presented in one article. For example, microscopic information pertains to the precise settings chosen to carry out particular measurements.
2.
Mesoscopic  information plays a role in a research project as a whole, i.e. in a collection of related articles. Authors can use mesoscopic modules to set apart information for multiple use. An example of mesoscopic information is the information about elaborate instrumentation, such as a molecular beam source that is installed and used for a prolonged period.
3.
Macroscopic  information plays a role on the level of the research domain, and therefore is explicitly used outside the project. Basic scattering theory is an example of macroscopic information. A macroscopic module has a status comparable to that of an `advanced text book', as it has a larger, less informed target audience.
These three levels basically coincide with the difference between the genres of the research article, the review papers and the text book. Microscopic modules are always part of an article. Mesoscopic and macroscopic modules are part of a larger network of information. A microscopic module can include mesoscopic or macroscopic information through a link to the mesoscopic or macroscopic module representing that information.

This characterisation is used complementarily to the characterisations by the scientific content and by the conceptual function of the information. The modular model allows for microscopic, mesoscopic and macroscopic variants of all modules defined in the previous sections. Some types defined by the conceptual function are more likely than others to give rise to modules with different ranges. For instance, methods can often be suitably presented in mesoscopic or even macroscopic Methods modules . Raw data are usually restricted to microscopic modules. Nevertheless, a mesoscopic module Raw data could be used to present the output of particular measurements made with e.g. the Hubble space telescope, the LEP collider at CERN, or in another large-scale experiment.



Next: The characterisation by a Up: Modules Previous: The domain-oriented characterisation