Archive for June, 2012

June 28, 2012

What is information or how the hippies gave raise to the Internet?

I went a talk last night about ‘What is information’ and the speaker presented their current research on the impact of computing and how it has shaped the concept of information. The ideas were pretty far reaching me as I do not have knowledge of computer science and I couldn’t get my head round the technical points. However when the talk started to lead into LSD, the CIA, and hippies this definitely threw up some questions.

How much is our understanding of information integral to a physical object i.e. a book or computer?

Is the message important?

Is the Internet like a psychedelic drug?

 

June 27, 2012

CPD 23 Thing 7: real-life networks

My experiences of professional organisations have been akin to dipping my toe in water to jumping in the deep end. I’ve been a member of CILIP for a few years and found it has been a useful of finding out about the profession. I’ve attended a range of workshops and conferences and more recently embarked on the CDG International Study Tour.

When I joined the profession my knowledge of librarianship was limited with my main encounters being with public and academic libraries. Being a member of CILIP has enabled me to meet a variety of people and discover the scope of the profession and the roles that exist. It has also helped me develop my professional interests.

June 18, 2012

23 Things – Thing 6 Online Networks – privacy concerns

This Thing is one that I’ve had to really have a good think about. Although I recognise the potential of using online tools to engage with networks, at present I’ve had to decide not to participate. The major concern I have is the matter of privacy. I realise that you have the choice with how much information you can input about yourself on these tools however it seems to me that there is a need to put up a fair amount of personal details and there is niggling feeling in the back of mind that does not feel comfortable with this. Everytime I think to try it out I’ll read something like this: http://www.wired.com/business/2012/06/opinion-google-is-evil/ and the feeling returns. I shall need to give this some consideration.

June 6, 2012

CPD 23 Thing 5 – Reflection: Our relationship with information

Since starting this CPD 23 Things course I have become more relaxed about using social media tools. My main concern was being overwhelmed. I am glad to find that many of the concerns I hold are shared by other participants.

In turn it has made me think of points of interests I’ve had for sometime namely our relationship with information. In particular I am intrigued by the concept of information overload and the part the social media tools play.

To me it is about information overconsumption rather than overload. These tools and use of them are a reflection of our relationship with information, how it is produced and consumed.

A book I have on my reading list is Clay Johnson’s “The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption” having read a fascinating review on the following blog: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/01/19/the-information-diet-clay-johnson/. Clay Johnson draws attention to the idea of information being like food and that we should consider the consumption of it in the same way. He raises the point about it being a health issue. I brought this topic up at the LibCamp@Brunel and wondered at the role of information professional in supporting an information diet. I’ve recently read the post and discussion “If Information is Food, What Does It Mean to Say, ‘You Are What You Eat’?” on Agnostic, Maybe:  http://agnosticmaybe.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/if-information-is-food-what-does-it-mean-to-say-you-are-what-you-eat/. It was good see that this idea of information as food brings about an interesting debate. I’m still undecided about the role of information professional however I feel it depends on the ‘consumer’. Clearly a researcher will have different needs to someone with leisure interests, therefore in the former cases it is essential that the informational professional acts more like a nutritionist.  

It also reminded me of an article I read David Bawden and Lyn Robinson “The dark side of information: overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies” Journal of Information Science Volume 35 Issue 2, April 2009. Bawden and Robinson point out that information overload is a more a perceived problem than an actual problem. Also the notion of information overload is not new and there similar accounts taking place during the period of increased publication in 19th century. The problem may be more associated with information behaviour.

Finally I rather like Margaret Atwood’s take on Twitter: “Let’s just say it’s communication, and communication is something human beings like to do.” http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/mar/29/atwood-in-the-twittersphere/. To me this sums up most of the social media tools available and I look forward to exploring.