Skip to Main Content

The information cycle

Next years: Books & Government reports

One year after the event, the U.S. President requested the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks to conduct an official report of the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Commission released the report in 2004.

In addition to this, it took a couple years for scholars to publish academic books that contribute in-depth research to their respective academic fields. These books expand themes, topics, subjects, and analysis that first appeared in the academic journals and assure a high level of accuracy and intellectual rigor.

Browse the gallery of reports and books published a few years after the September 11 attacks. Click the gallery images to view & read chapters discussing different aspects of the event and targeting different disciplines.

Information dissemination

The years that followed the event, the information continued flowing in long written forms but even in a slower pace compared to journals. For example, for the production of the report, the commission interviewed over 1,200 people in 10 countries and reviewed over two and a half million pages of classified national security documents. The final report was released 3 years later. The information stops being current.

The production of a book is not an easy task either and takes a few years too. Some books were well-researched while some others were compilations from articles that have been published in journals and some others provide general discussions. They targeted several areas of knowledge from public policy, terrorism, foreign policy, media, mental health and a lot more. The publishing pace of books and reports was slow too, as they went through the processes of editing, indexing and illustrating.

Book & report attributes

Reading books and reports online, can be trickier than when you are looking at a print version of a source. Computer screens impose us with the impression that all information sources are the same or that they offer the same kind of information.

Check the table with the book & report attributes that will help you determine the type of source you are viewing.

 Attributes   Hints
Name of source

Book and report titles usually target a specific topic. Sometimes the title starts with a few catchy words but is followed by a subtitle which provides more information about the subject of the book or the report e.g. More secure less free? Antiterrorism policy & civil liberties after September 11.
Author of information

Books and reports always attribute authorship. The writers can be scholars, researchers, professionals or organizations. Usually the authors' credentials appear after their names. In some cases there is information about the author on the cover or at the back of the book. Sometimes you may find author information at the preface of the book.
Date of information

Books and reports are usually published once. The date of publication appears at the beginning of the book or the report on a separate page which includes the copyright information. For books the date has the form of a year, however for reports the date may appear in any form. A book or a report may be published in a newer edition as new research findings occur.   
Length of information
Books and reports are typically long, that is why they are divided into chapters.
Language used
In general, the language used in books and reports is formal and highly technical.
Subject focus
Books and reports provide theoretical knowledge on a wide variety of topics and disciplines like psychology, philosophy, sociology, business, politics, history, technology, literature, biology, arts etc.
Additional elements
Books and reports usually include a title page, a copyright page, a table of contents, a preface, an introduction, indexes and bibliographies. They may also include photographs, tables, maps, graphs.
Layout & arrangement
Books and reports in a cover that grabs a potential reader’s attention. The information is arranged in chapters with logical order. The sizes vary from standard to custom. 
Purpose & audience
The purpose of books and reports is to provide in-depth, comprehensive coverage of an event, expanding upon themes, subjects, and analysis previously published in scholarly journals. May provide different perspectives of the event. They intend to inform for a broad audience, depending on the book, ranging from scholars to a general audience. Reports may also be addressed to government officials.
Database Icons
Library databases often provide icons which indicate the type of source e.g.  or