Information ecology and ecology of information

I was kindly invited to contribute to the Information ecology and libraries conference in Bratislava, an event I am currently participating. Considering my history, it is not very surprising that I find the notion of information ecology enticing and useful in explicating patterns of information interactions as a contextual and temporal phenomenon. The different presenters at the conference have highlighted several different aspects of information ecologies. 

 

My own paper Social aspects of the ecology of information work discussed my earlier model of the ecology of information work in the light of three major social theories of communities of practice, social capital and social information foraging.

 

Barbara B. Moran (UNC at Chapel Hill) discussed the future of libraries in ecological terms and mapped different factors that are fundamental for adapting to the changing information ecosystem. I found her discussion of the three strategies of adaptation: anagenesis, cladogenesis and hybridisation as especially interesting. According to the first strategy, libraries, or organisations in general, continue more or less as they have done before. In cladogenesis, a species (organisation) is split into two, for instance, libraries proper and other types of information organisations. Hybridisation combines different earlier functions in one as in case of the Idea Store (of London) and several public libraries in Sweden that have began to cooperate with other public and private services.

 

Jela Steinerová (Comenius University, Bratislava) discussed the information ecology of the academic information environment in Slovakia and demonstrated the usability of concept maps as a method for explicating and visualising central aspects information ecologies. Steinerovás approach is also interesting in the sense that her notion of information ecology and ecological information stretches the boundaries of the notion towards bi-directionality. Information ecology can be used to explain the dynamics of human-information-technology interactions, but 'ecologicality' functions also as a quality of a certain kind of information.

 

Of other papers, the talk David Bawden (City University, London) will be giving tomorrow morning seems very promising simialrly to the careful analysis of various types of information ecology concepts by Michal Lorenz (Masaryk University Brno, Czech Republic) and the overviews of structural abstracts by Arkadiusz Pulikowski (University of Silesia) and of competetive intelligence by Richard Papik and Martin Soucek (Charles University Prague).

Information Services and Digital Literacy provides an alternative perspective for understanding information services and digital literacy, and argues that a central problem in the age of the social web and the culture of participation is that we do not know the premises of how we know, and how ways of interacting with information affect our actions and their outcomes.

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Taking Health Information Behaviour into Account: implications of a neglected element for success- ful implementation of consumer health technologies on older adults (HIBA) is an Academy of Finland funded research project at Åbo Akademi University.

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ARKDIS project maps the implications and opportunities of the digitalisation of information and information work in the domain of archaeology and to develop and evaluate conceptual and practical methods and procedures for enhancing archaeological information work in the digitalised environment.

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