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Monday, September 6, 2010

Information (and knowledge) exists only in your head

7:34:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments
I was digging in my blog archive and found these "old" posts that try to define key concepts such as information and knowledge. Here are links to the posts with some excerpts - I hope you'll find them useful.

"Information? Only In Your Head"
"Think of information as something that is created in your head, by cognitive processes in your brain, when you consume content. By content I mean a message that is encoded as text, images, sound etc. To be able to interpret and understand what the content (the message) is about, you must already know a lot about the concepts that it refers to. If you don't, then the content will mean little or nothing to you. You will make no sense out of it."
"A train of thought"

"Information is the result of a successful communication process. Technically speaking, a message has been sent from a sender to a receiver who has interpreted it successfully. A communication process can also transmit experiences (compare a time table vs an artwork). It can of course transmit both information and an experience."
"Back to Basics - Defining Data, Content, Experience, Information And Knowledge"
"There are often logical inconsistencies between key concepts such as data, content, information and knowledge, which cause confusion and complicate discussions and analysis. It often helps to go back to basic definitions and to try to sort them out.

  • Data: Data is content that has been structured so hard (in order to be stored and accessed in an efficient way) that it does not provide enough context to the user to be usable on its own. It needs to be aggregated, formatted and described to be usable. 

  • Content: Content is something that is indented to communicate a message from a sender to one or several receivers e.g. a diagram, a document or a digital asset such as picture or movie. The purpose of the message (e.g. the communication process) can be to inform the receiver about something or to create an experience. Digitized content is formatted and described in a way that it can easily be managed and delivered to the user with information technology. 

  • Experience: The receiver (user) always gets some kind of experience when he/she interacts with digital content via some kind of device and software user interface. The sender might see the experience as a means to communicate the message to the user more efficiently, or the experience might be the actual message. 

  • Information: When perceiving and interpreting content that is intended to inform the user about something, the user will hopefully understand the message. In other words, the content is transformed into meaningful information by cognitive processes in the user's head. 

  • Knowledge: When the user reflects and applies the information, it can be transformed into knowledge."
"More About Content, Experiences and Information"
"Acknowledging that information and knowledge cannot be managed with technology is important. The main reason is that it allows us to put our focus and efforts on what we actually can manage with technology; how knowledge and information is encoded into various forms of content and how that content is then managed and delivered to the right user in an efficient way"

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