Around information?

Submitted by Isto Huvila on Tue, 08/20/2013 - 15:05

Luciano Floridi's claim that Plato is the best guide to the problems with Big Data was in many ways exemplary of my souveniers of this years CoLIS 8 conference (in Copenhagen) so far. Many presenters have raised important questions and provided at least very good preliminary answers to varying questions about what different information things are about. In Floridi's terms, the problem of Big Data is not the Big or the Data, but rather the small patterns and a lack (or need) of capability to present questions with which we can use the Big Data to answer questions we would like to be answered.

Paul Scifleet presented a somehow similar question on what is happening (qualitatively) in social media in the time of crises, in his study during the floods of Wagga Wagga, NSW. Olle Sköld discussed in his presentationa related question on how/if to use social media as documents of communities and community activities in virtual worlds. Further on, Jenna Hartel's paper on Castles and inverted castles gave food for thought about the relation of the visible and invisible constituents of information research. My own presentation discussed metagames and metagaming in the context of information studies as an analytical and conceptual tool for making visible different information related second order activities.

In this context it seems that Jonathan Furner's claim that information studies could well exist without the notion of information seems very relevant. An interesting thing in IS is not necessarily the information per se but rather the things that happen with and around it.