marble divider What is Information?

Information is what we look for when we have a problem to solve or a question to answer. Without a problem or question what we think of as information is really just meaningless data.

The important ramification of this definition is that in looking for and dealing with information, we must be very very clear about our problem or question. If we do not clarify our need, the information we obtain may easily mislead us.

Why Do We Need It?

Making decisions without information is called guessing. You and I have seen and heard many times about the consequences of acting on guesses instead of reality.

How Do We Use It?

The human tendency is to use the handiest, easiest to obtain, information (this is called Zipf's Law). We worry about the amount of effort we have to put out to get the information, rather than appropriately worrying about the quality and validity of the information.

In addition, it is a very human tendency to want to charge forward with information gathering before we are entirely clear about the problem to be solved.

The result is that often our solutions are not much better than guesses.

The evolution of humankind towards a more efficient, effective, and successful species, therefore, requires that we pay more attention to our thinking about problems, our thinking about the quality of the information we are considering, and our thinking about the process we are following.

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Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

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