Elaborating on an earlier rant (the infosphere)…

30Jan08

I started a line of thought in response to a comment I received, and I’d like to pick that up here in some more depth.

 

Let me begin with some revision and refocusing of this blog. First, I started some notes on the required and other readings I’m doing this semester. Well, that’s going away. Not that I won’t be posting comments and thoughts, but I need to start organizing these writing and ideas in a manner that works better for me. Right now I’m a fan of mind mapping and visualizing ideas, writing, notes, and more. I’ll look in to some software options to upload some scattered and not-so scattered mind maps.

 

Second, if you’re cherry-picking my ramblings for notes or other uses. Good luck. I might have something here, but I am going to use this space and time (and the organizational layout) for blogging to a specific end: my interests, research, and general wanderings through the early stages of figuring out why I’m here/

 

Finally, well let’s skip this (just sounded like I should have a final precursor thought at this point).

 

BACK TO THE RANTING

 

Over the past two weeks I’ve been inundated with readings informing that “information” is either amorphous, contingent (or contextual), or overly specific to a niche discipline that it lacks intellectual merit in expanding a concept to incorporate all the meanings of what, where, or how knowledge is (I’ll leave out the whys and whos). At the same time, and in my “real life,” I’ve been tapped to expand and share some specific knowledge (information?) I have gained over the past couple of months. These are unrelated right now – but stay tuned here in another year or so they will hopefully dovetail together neatly.

 

OK, so the “experts” and philosophers of information and knowledge can’t agree on foundational definitions. I get it. I accept it. Now, let’s move on. “But wait a minute,” you might be thinking. “Shouldn’t you [that would be me in this weird first/second/third person dialogue I’m having] be exploring this more and trying to make your own connections or associations with these ideas?”

 

Well, short answer to a convoluted question: no. Information, knowledge, data whatever you want to label it is just that, a label. Labels are removable, replaceable, and adjustable – at least in the world of 3M. I’ll keep coming back to this interchangeable concept that’s evolving in my head – I’m sure it’s not original…new to me in a certain sense. The terms, in spite of what I’m reading are not interchangeable. Here I’ll have to put my foot down. Information and data are not knowledge. Don’t ask for the citation, but I did read something this past week about knowledge requiring some cognitive or sentient dimension. As I embark on this Knowledge Management “thing” (no this isn’t a substitute or typical attempt to trivialize something but is intentional…and don’t get me started on intentionality), one key element of knowledge that I prefer is that it is “actionable” [in DOD-ese this is the spark or impetus for kinetic activity – but I love this buzzword right now].

 

If knowledge requires some activity, what are the properties of this transaction? Here I return to the rant – still waiting for the comment to post. As I start to think about information, and knowledge specifically, in mathematical terms I dig myself deeper into an information gap. No, I’m not naturally mathematically inclined. Over the past two years, however, I find myself gravitating to mathematical explanations, solutions, and discussions for a variety of topics. I can’t really place the source of this interest in one place, and at this time I’m not ready to pinpoint this math-o-phile turn. I am relearning some calculus, a little geometry, and some more rudimentary math. Sure it’s haphazard and may seem a little like I’m flittering all over the mathematical map – and I may be, but I’m having a good time randomly dropping in at different places in the subject to draw out some ideas I can attempt to connect in my own mind. I just realized this sounds very self-centered. It is to a certain extent, but in the interests of KM (in the wider meaning) I’m sharing this with the public now. The Wikipedia link explores this same idea – and I really do like many things about Wikipedia, but I’ll save that for another rant.

 

Where I started on this other blog as a comment was partly tongue-in-cheek and partly where I’m heading intellectually. I hadn’t made the spherical connection with my math fetish until I wrote that comment. In the proverbial Eureka! moment it just came to me, and I’ve been stuck in a loop thinking about this for the past day. Think about it. Sphere – information – knowledge = math (pardon my poor mathematical syntax this is more a meager attempt at visualizing this for me).

 

Well, it’s past my bed time. So I will have to reconnect with these thoughts later…as always, comments, suggestions, and additions to this train are welcome!

 

Thanks.

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