We investigate symbolic sequences and in particular information carriers as e.g. books and DNA--strings. First the higher order Shannon entropies are calculated, a characteristic root law is detected. Then the algorithmic entropy is estimated by using Lempel--Ziv compression algorithms. In the third section the correlation function for distant letters, the low frequency Fourier spectrum and the characteristic scaling exponents are calculated. We show that all these measures are able to detect long--range correlations. However, as demonstrated by shuffling experiments, different measures operate on different length scales. The longest correlations found in our analysis comprise a few hundreds or thousands of letters and may be understood as long--wave fluctuations of the composition.