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 analogous to writers and poets not having to define life, love, or loss before embarking on their work.


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