LIB 640 Information Sources and Services                Summer 2012What is Information?And what do we do about it?
2     What is Information?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U84RbG0iBk&feature=channel&list=UL
3    3
Information is all-pervading!                                                   4    James Gleick:      •   For the purpo...
5            Why Shannon?    Gleick:                      •   We can see now that                          information is...
6      Information, more precisely      defined?Information  • Data presented in readily comprehensible form to    which ...
Another view of “information”                                                                 7    Comment from a former ...
8Do you know what information is?                  http://vimeo.com/3248432
9What is information?   According to the International Encyclopedia of Information    and Library Science, information i...
10      Characteristics of information Knowing the character or type of information can  help you to identify its origin ...
Understanding the information                         11           universe     Information formats       •   When inform...
12    Information Types That is, what the information looks (or sounds) like         Textual         Bibliographic     ...
13     The result?        Gleick again:          •   After ―information theory‖ came to be, so did              ―informat...
14           The solution?     Gleick has none but hard work:       •   No deus ex machina waits in the wings; no man beh...
15       Can we help?Is there help to be found from librarians?                            •   If so, how should it work?
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What is information?

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What is information?

  1. 1. LIB 640 Information Sources and Services Summer 2012What is Information?And what do we do about it?
  2. 2. 2 What is Information?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U84RbG0iBk&feature=channel&list=UL
  3. 3. 3 3
  4. 4. Information is all-pervading! 4 James Gleick: • For the purposes of science, information had to mean something special. . . . A rite of purification became necessary. • And then, when it was made simple, distilled, counted in bits, information was found to be everywhere. [Claude] Shannon’s [information] theory [1948] made a bridge between information and uncertainty; between information and entropy; and between information and chaos. It led to compact discs and fax machines, computers and cyberspace, Moore’s law and all the world’s Silicon Alleys. Information processing was born, along with information storage and information retrieval. People began to name a successor to the Iron Age and the Steam Age. • Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Kindle Locations 134-138). Pantheon. Kindle Edition.4
  5. 5. 5 Why Shannon? Gleick: • We can see now that information is what our world runs on: the blood and the fuel, the vital principle. It pervades the sciences from top to bottom, transforming every branch of knowledge. [Shannon’s] Information theory began as a bridge from mathematics to electrical engineering and from there to computing. • Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Kindle Locations 141-143). Pantheon. Kindle Edition.5
  6. 6. 6 Information, more precisely defined?Information • Data presented in readily comprehensible form to which meaning has been attributed within the context of its use. In a more dynamic sense, the message conveyed by the use of a medium of communication or expression. • Whether a specific message is informative or not depends in part on the subjective perception of the person receiving it. . . . Compare with knowledge. • ODLIS: Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science
  7. 7. Another view of “information” 7 Comment from a former faculty member at the College of Library and Information in Oslo, Norway:  ―. . . you know, there’s nothing as fluid as the information concept; it’s like . . . an amoeba!‖ From a group interview for Dr. Johan Koren’s dissertation research, Fall 19897
  8. 8. 8Do you know what information is? http://vimeo.com/3248432
  9. 9. 9What is information?  According to the International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science, information is ―best seen as holding the place in the spectrum between raw data and knowledge. Seen in this way, information is an assemblage of data in a comprehensible form capable of communication and use: facts to which meaning has been attached.‖  In this sense, almost everything could be information - facts (events, concepts, objects, etc.) that carry meaning and can be communicated.
  10. 10. 10 Characteristics of information Knowing the character or type of information can help you to identify its origin and use. There are several kinds of information that can be useful for different reasons. • Factual Information • Analytical Information • Subjective Information • Objective Information SEE ALSO
  11. 11. Understanding the information 11 universe Information formats • When information is recorded and stored, it exists in a physical form called a format. There are three broad categories of format: • Print – paper • Audio-visual - film, audiotape, videocassette, slides, microfilm, vinyl records, etc. • Electronic – information that’s recorded, stored and retrieved using computer technology. Examples include CD’s, DVD’s, and all online sources. •11
  12. 12. 12 Information Types That is, what the information looks (or sounds) like  Textual  Bibliographic  Numeric  Graphical  Audio  Multimedia
  13. 13. 13 The result? Gleick again: • After ―information theory‖ came to be, so did ―information overload,‖ ―information glut,‖ ―information anxiety,‖ and ―information fatigue,‖ the last recognized by the OED in 2009 as a timely syndrome: ―Apathy, indifference, or mental exhaustion arising from exposure to too much information, esp. (in later use) stress induced by the attempt to assimilate excessive amounts of information from the media, the Internet, or at work.‖ • Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Kindle Locations 7201-7205). Pantheon. Kindle Edition.13
  14. 14. 14 The solution? Gleick has none but hard work: • No deus ex machina waits in the wings; no man behind the curtain. • As ever, it is the choice that informs us (in the original sense of that word). Selecting the genuine takes work; then forgetting takes even more work. This is the curse of omniscience: the answer to any question may arrive at the fingertips—via Google or Wikipedia or IMDb or YouTube or Epicurious or the National DNA Database or any of their natural heirs and successors—and still we wonder what we know. • Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Kindle Locations 7587-7588; 7592-7595). Pantheon. Kindle Edition.14
  15. 15. 15 Can we help?Is there help to be found from librarians? • If so, how should it work?

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