Information Is . . .

I always tell people that I’m in library school, which is true and informative, but the official name of my program is Library & Information Science. As such, we spend a lot of time in lectures discussing the various definitions of “information” and the theories underpinning them. Last lecture, we were asked to put together a slide with our definition of information for the general public. Below is my take on it.

"Information is a promiscuous word happy to take on any definition.

Chief Justice Stewart was of course talking about hard-core pornography, but I think his argument is valid when it comes to attempts to define such things as information. I’m not sure that in order to be good information professionals, or in plain language shunned by academics, good librarians, we have to articulate a precise, if and only if definition for information. This is in the same way that writers and poets don’t need to define life, love, or loss before embarking on their works.

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3 Responses to Information Is . . .

  1. F. says:

    That’s kind of funny.

  2. More on definitions: “the concept has become a rhetorical Roschach blot — the meaning is in the eye of the beholder. The very utility of the phrase, the source of its mass appeal, comes at the cost of a precise, universally accepted definition.” The author of that quote is James Ledbetter, and he was talking about the military industrial complex, but you can substitute just about any other two+ words with laden meaning there.

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