What is Information?And what do we do about it?LIB 640 Information Sources and ServicesSummer 2013
2What is Information?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U84RbG0iBk&feature=channel&list=UL
33http://www.open.ac.uk/safari/php_pages/s01t02p010000.php
4Information is all-pervading!James Gleick:• For the purposes of science,information had to meansomething special. . . . ...
5Why Shannon?Gleick:• We can see now thatinformation is what our worldruns on: the blood and the fuel,the vital principle...
6Information, more preciselydefined?Information• Data presented in readily comprehensible form towhich meaning has been a...
77Another view of “information”Comment from a former faculty member atthe College of Library and Information in Oslo,Norw...
8Do you know what information is?http://vimeo.com/3248432
9What is it? According to the International Encyclopedia of Informationand Library Science, information is “best seen as...
10Characteristics of information Knowing the character or type of information canhelp you to identify its origin and use....
11Understanding the informationuniverse11FLCC Library » LibGuides » Library ResearchTutorial: Information Formats
12Information Types That is, what the information looks (or sounds) like Textual Bibliographic Numeric Graphical Aud...
13The result?Gleick again:• After “information theory” came to be, so did“information overload,” “information glut,”“info...
14The solution?Gleick has none but hard work:• No deus ex machina waits in the wings; no man behindthe curtain.• As ever,...
15Is there help to be found from librarians?• If so, how should it work?Can we help?
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What is information: And what do we do about it?

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What is information: And what do we do about it?

  1. 1. What is Information?And what do we do about it?LIB 640 Information Sources and ServicesSummer 2013
  2. 2. 2What is Information?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U84RbG0iBk&feature=channel&list=UL
  3. 3. 33http://www.open.ac.uk/safari/php_pages/s01t02p010000.php
  4. 4. 4Information is all-pervading!James Gleick:• For the purposes of science,information had to meansomething special. . . . A riteof purification becamenecessary.• And then, when it was madesimple, distilled, counted in bits,information was found to beeverywhere. [Claude] Shannon’s [information] theory[1948] made a bridge between information anduncertainty; between information and entropy; andbetween information and chaos. It led to compact discsand fax machines, computers and cyberspace, Moore’slaw and all the world’s Silicon Alleys. Informationprocessing was born, along with information storage andinformation retrieval. People began to name a successorto the Iron Age and the Steam Age.• Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, aFlood (Kindle Locations 134-138). Pantheon. Kindle Edition.4
  5. 5. 5Why Shannon?Gleick:• We can see now thatinformation is what our worldruns on: the blood and the fuel,the vital principle. It pervadesthe sciences from top to bottom,transforming every branch ofknowledge. [Shannon’s]Information theory began as abridge from mathematics toelectrical engineering and fromthere to computing.• Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, aTheory, a Flood (Kindle Locations 141-143). Pantheon.Kindle Edition.5
  6. 6. 6Information, more preciselydefined?Information• Data presented in readily comprehensible form towhich meaning has been attributed within thecontext of its use. In a more dynamic sense, themessage conveyed by the use of a medium ofcommunication or expression.• Whether a specific message is informative or notdepends in part on the subjective perception ofthe person receiving it. . . . Compare withknowledge.• ODLIS: Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science
  7. 7. 77Another view of “information”Comment from a former faculty member atthe College of Library and Information in Oslo,Norway: “. . . you know, there’snothing as fluid as theinformation concept; it’slike . . . an amoeba!”From a group interview for Dr.Johan Koren’s dissertationresearch, Fall 1989
  8. 8. 8Do you know what information is?http://vimeo.com/3248432
  9. 9. 9What is it? According to the International Encyclopedia of Informationand Library Science, information is “best seen as holdingthe place in the spectrum between raw data andknowledge. Seen in this way, information is an assemblageof data in a comprehensible form capable ofcommunication and use: facts to which meaning has beenattached.” In this sense, almost everything could be information -facts (events, concepts, objects, etc.) that carry meaningand can be communicated. LIB 120 - What is Information? University Libraries » LibGuides @ URI » LIB 120 - What isInformation?
  10. 10. 10Characteristics of information Knowing the character or type of information canhelp you to identify its origin and use. There areseveral kinds of information that can be useful fordifferent reasons.• Factual Information• Analytical Information• Subjective Information• Objective InformationSEE ALSO
  11. 11. 11Understanding the informationuniverse11FLCC Library » LibGuides » Library ResearchTutorial: Information Formats
  12. 12. 12Information Types That is, what the information looks (or sounds) like Textual Bibliographic Numeric Graphical Audio Multimedia
  13. 13. 13The result?Gleick again:• After “information theory” came to be, so did“information overload,” “information glut,”“information anxiety,” and “informationfatigue,” the last recognized by the OED in2009 as a timely syndrome: “Apathy,indifference, or mental exhaustion arisingfrom exposure to too much information, esp.(in later use) stress induced by the attempt toassimilate excessive amounts of informationfrom the media, the Internet, or at work.”• Gleick, James (2011). The Information: AHistory, a Theory, a Flood (Kindle Locations7201-7205). Pantheon. Kindle Edition.13
  14. 14. 14The solution?Gleick has none but hard work:• No deus ex machina waits in the wings; no man behindthe curtain.• As ever, it is the choice that informs us (in the originalsense of that word). Selecting the genuine takes work;then forgetting takes even more work. This is the curse ofomniscience: the answer to any question may arrive at thefingertips—via Google or Wikipedia or IMDb or YouTubeor Epicurious or the National DNA Database or any oftheir natural heirs and successors—and still we wonderwhat 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Is there help to be found from librarians?• If so, how should it work?Can we help?

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