Time, money and demand
How long does it take for an information "item" or work to be produced? How long is the time frame between the start of a work and when it is published? It depends on many things, including the discipline involved, the needs of the publishers, the perceived demand for the item, and other issues.
For example, an article in today's paper is likely to have been written within a day or two, unless it is a lengthy in-depth report which required research and reporting over time. If you need information about something which is brand new, newspapers may be one place to start.
Articles in magazines are also normally written within the publication's frame, i.e., within a week, a month, two months, etc., although, again, topics that require lengthy research take longer, sometimes much longer, between start and publication, and issues may be planned and articles assigned well in advance.
Journal articles are more complicated to write, commonly require lengthy research and sometimes experimentation, and usually have a lag between submission and publication of anywhere from weeks to years; the most common interval is measured in months. Most recent journal articles can be considered current information on a topic, but this does vary by discipline.
Books vary, too. Books about the September 11 crisis were in bookstores within days of the disaster, but the range is typically from months to years, depending on the topic, the author, the publisher, and other factors. Naturally, the longer an item is, the longer it takes to write it, edit it, review it, and publish it. For example, Shelby Foote wrote The Civil War: A Narrative, which was published as a three-volume set, in longhand on legal pads, over the course of twenty years. This is an extraordinary example, however.
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