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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: data->information->knowledge->wisdom 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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