Information Science Defined
Information can be regarded as the answer of uncertainty; it renders the question of what an object is and therefore defines both its form and its nature. The concept of information is very different from that of vocabulary or language in that it predates both of them, and even as it develops it is inseparable from them. The word ‘information’ first appears in the modern era, though it was already present in human languages since the period of the ancient Greek classical epics. The idea of information may have varied by way of reference, but was associated with progress and hierarchy in all the great intellectual movements of past periods.
In the modern era, the definition of information science has been considerably refined. The process of information science consists of four main steps: the collection of data, interpretation of the collected data, measurement of the results and communication of the results to the involved parties. The significance of these steps is not easily discernible from the perspective of the student of information science, for they are intimately connected with one another and must be kept in balance in order to achieve a useful result. The study of information can be traced back to the advent of science itself, when it was required to formulate laws of induction on the basis of accumulated facts and observations. This process has since been applied to other branches of study, especially engineering, where it is used to design and develop machines and to build networks and computer systems.
The study of information may also be traced back to the major historical periods in which civilization developed. The most important breakthroughs in the field occurred during the days of the Ancient Egyptians, who created the writing systems of the Ptolemaic and Egyptian languages. It was also the forerunner of the development of Latin and Greek alphabets, and in particular of the modern alphabet of today. The Ancient Greeks were famous for their use of numbers in their architectural works, and they are responsible for the modern theory of numbers and units of measurement.
Modern information science deals mainly with the study of how information is transmitted and managed in a practical work environment. It is an important branch of information technology, and several sub-disciplines have been developed over the years in order to deal with particular problems that arise in this modern setting. A clear example of such a discipline is the field of information management, which seeks to improve the accuracy and quality of information and to ensure its effectiveness in business and decision making. Another important area is that of information systems, which seeks to create an efficient and reliable whole-of-system approach to information and to help make the system more effective.
Information science was born out of the developments made in the fields of computer science and engineering. Today the majority of technological advances are driven by information technologies, and there are severe limitations that affect the efficient utilization of information that could be made available to users if the appropriate communication links are not present. The major challenge for information science is to provide an accurate and comprehensive definition of information that covers all the possible types and forms of information that exist in our world today. In other words, information science has to take the entire scope of human activity into account in order to define the information science.
The information science definition is an important part of any educational curriculum and one that must be taken seriously both in theory and in practice. The discipline also has some interesting applications, ranging from information technology projects, computer applications, software engineering and scientific research. The definition of information science therefore covers every aspect of the human process and endeavor and attempts to bring it all under the single umbrella of ‘information’. The ultimate challenge for information science then is to find a way of defining the phenomenon of information so that it can be properly understood and used to achieve certain ends. It is an important subject that will continue to grow as technology advances and as society struggles to meet its informational needs.