An information broker is a person or business that researches information for clients. Common uses for information brokers include market research and patent searches, but can include practically any type of information research.
In 1977 Kelly Warnken published the first fee-based information directory, which continues to be published and has expanded to cover international concerns. The Association of Independent Information Professionals, the first professional association devoted to information brokers, was formed in Milwaukee in 1987. The profession has its roots in 1937 when librarians and other information professionals formed an organization called the American Society for Information Science and Technology in an attempt to establish their professional identity separate from public libraries.
In fiction, information brokers usually find data for a story's main character(s). Fictional information brokers can be of varying importance and have varying methods. For example, a hacker can be an information broker, though they may be simply transferring whatever information they find to the main character(s). Other brokers may have memorized data and tell the main character(s) covertly. Also, a fee is not always involved. The information broker may have an alliance with the main character(s) or be one themselves. An example of an information broker in contemporary fiction would be DC Comics' superheroine, the Oracle, Edward G. Robinson's character Sol in the film Soylent Green, or Orihara Izaya in the anime Durarara!!.
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