Thursday, January 08, 2009

Information, Culture, and Responsibility

These screencast videos about technology and culture are so often tacitly about design as anything else; nonetheless this video is thought provoking (and well designed!):

(It should be mentioned that Bermuda has such high internet penetration, relatively, because it is tiny: just over 66,000 people living on 20.6 sq. miles.) Actually, that's my only gripe with this presentation--where did this information come from? Is the data properly contextualized? I know I'm splitting hairs here, but I do wish the video would include at the end some sort of indicator about about how the information was gathered and from what sources.

This video also reminds me of a concept I still often ponder--the difference between information and knowledge, and of course, the process of information becoming knowledge. The video asks "Do You Know?" This is a good refrain for the video, but I then have to ask, what good is knowing when the knowing does not (or cannot) alter behavior in positive ways for the "knower"? I don't mean to sound cynical, this is rather just a question about which I wonder. Perhaps that is the difference between information and knowledge: information is data that cannot yet be acted upon, while knowledge is data that, to use a business term, is actionable.

The tacit question, of course, is how we as a species will begin to deal with this immense amount of information. When we realize that we can create and publish information so much faster than we can organize or even comprehend its fullness, the above presentation takes on a slightly more serious tone; nonetheless, that doesn't mean we can't try. Ah the joys of librarianship! I knew I went into this profession for good reason.

Thanks to Karl at for posting the above video!

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