It’s a few weeks into the semester and I’m beginning to get into a rhythm of reading, understanding and critically responding to the text. The requirements of distance learning include, among specific assignments spread out over the course of the semester, weekly discussion posts that should be both many and thoughtful. So being able to independently absorb information in order to analyze it is very important for online students. But I think I’m getting the hang of what I’m calling “delayed debating,” which I think is self-explanatory.
Much of the these first few weeks have centered on an introduction to information and how to organize it. We spent an entire unit reading about how to define information. And it was actually fascinating. To me, anyway.
My favorite reading from that week illustrates one of the reasons I love librarianship, specifically the fact that it ties in to any field. Wherever your interests lie, there’s a librarian for that. We’re like Droid apps. Seriously.
Anyway, “Information and knowledge: an evolutionary framework for information science” by Marcia Bates is available online and I recommend reading it if you have interest in library science or information. The paper looks at the concept of information from the lens of evolutionary biology, which is what is so exciting about this field: Information is everything, so you can conceivably follow any number of paths at different points in your academic and professional career and still be studying information. As your interests change, and I’m here to say they do, so can your focus, without requiring a major career change.
OK, I’ll get back on topic. Bates creates a definition of information by going back to “the physical and biological levels” of the term’s emergence. She essentially says that our ability to recognize patterns (or information) and to absorb and use that information (as knowledge) is an evolutionary trait. Without it, the human race wouldn’t have survived. She goes on to say a lot more, but that part of the paper has stuck with me.
It puts the importance of the field into perspective, right?