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2002-02-10 23:15:28 ]


From an email with a friend, continuing a breakfast conversation about the state of information science programs:
I suspect I didn't articulate my issue with Info Science programs very
well this morning. Sabrina and I were talking about it more later and
I think a good deal of it comes from a lack of definition, or a
definition that is too limiting. She was talking about how she was
tired of people talking about information all the time and how she
thought that was going to die away. I said that it needed to be
amplified, that a self respecting information science program would
attempt to embrace interdisplinarity instead of give it lip service
and acknowledge that the study of information is in fact the general
study of anything but most especially communication, learning; the
process of knowledge creation, discovery, transmission and evaluation
in a system that feeds back and infinitely interelates.

This process:


gets a lot of press in certain circles of IS. As originally cast it is
a pyramid, with more data and less wisdom. In some images phenomena
(all of them) lie at the bottom of the stack. I think it's all
perspective: who the participants are and where they are looking from
helps to distinguish the label applied to the transaction. If I know
something I can transmit it to you as information and if you "get it"
it becomes knowledge for you.

I want that entire diagram and its processes to be the domain of
Information Science. I want to do the general study of that domain.

At SLIS the focus these days is on Classification, HCI, IR and
Informatics (in the Rob Kling style). There's very little
philosophical tone to any of it. I want more of that. I'd go a more
philosophy direction in my studies except that I want to focus very
specifically on information: not do we exist of why we are here but
more "okay, we're here, what do we do now and what can we do to make
the best of it?"
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