organizational contexts

Start by thinking about "organization" in a very broad definition

Allegro non troppo - Bolero (1977)

Don't let your tools get in the way of thinking about information

The challenge for the scientist, particularly in the era of Big Science, is to keep the instrument in its place. The best scientific kit comes from thinking about how to solve a problem. But once it becomes a part of the standard repertoire and acquires a lumbering momentum of its own, it might start to constrain thinking more than it assists it. As the historians of science Albert van Helden and Thomas Hankins said in 1994: ‘Because instruments determine what can be done, they also determine to some extent what can be thought.’

Machine Envy by Phillip Ball in Aeon Magazine

You don't have to read these unless you wish to, but we might touch upon them in conversation

  1. Saracevic, T. (October 01, 1999). Information Science. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 50, 12, 1051-63.
  2. Buckland, M. K. (June 01, 1991). Information as Thing. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42, 5, 351-60.
  3. books.Losee.Information-from-processes
  4. Losee, R. M. (2012). Information from processes: About the nature of information creation, use, and representation.
    Berlin: Springer.

As the author describes it:

... information is the set of characteristics of the output of a process, the characteristics produced from the set of possible characteristics of the output. The information produced by the process is about the process itself and about its input. This informative output may be observed and analyzed, and the output may be captured by a statement describing the information and the relationships between the information containing variables. Such an informative statement may describe the state of nature at the output of the process.


things we'll talk about

  • how do we define information
  • how do we decide what qualifies as information
  • how do we use and interact with information


Group exercise

We'll form groups after having all taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Test