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When we google, search Wikipedia, and share information on Mendeley, we obviously deal with complex networks of information. But also traditional information spaces – the collections of libraries for instance – and their classification systems are evolving complex systems. This talk explores the possibilities to use concepts and methods from statistical physics to analyze information dynamics. We depart from information dynamics in scholarly communication, and point to current encounters between physics and scientometrics. We discuss more in-depth the evolution of category systems in libraries (Universal Decimal Classification) in comparison to on-line spaces (Wikipedia). The talk closes with an introduction into a new European network – the COST Action KnowEscape – in which information professionals, sociologists, computer scientists, physicists and digital humanities scholars in an unique alliance seek for knowledge maps to better navigate through large information spaces.
Talk on June 11, 2013 by Andrea Scharnhorst at the IMT in Lucca, Italy.