mitigate information anxiety by applying context to data

In 2000,  Saul Wurman, the founder TED Conference, released the book "Information Anxiety 2". The author writes insightfully and philosphically about Information Anxiety, and how the age of IT has brought this on. This was 17 years ago. 

What makes a person anxious? What develops anxiety? Generally, uncertainty is not a good thing, and the stress of handling huge masses of information with a time limit, human lives and millions of pounds or dollars in the ballance will be ulcer-inducing. 

When you click to find, what is your motivation? Why do you have to click at all? When you click to find, the strategy is often to find a sensible and intuitive understanding of the surrounding landscape of the data. This sweetspot is often where the data as enough context to make it look like information. This could be metadata, smart titles or a structure in a Sharepoint site or file share that gives some context. I think that applying context to data is the most important step to transform it into information. 

In his book, Wurman states that "Raw data can be, but isn’t necessarily, information, and, unless it can be made to inform, it has no inherent value. It must be imbued with form and applied to become meaningful information. Yet, in our information-hungry era, it is often allowed to masquerade as information."

So what we often call information in the digital 2017, is not really worthy of the term. How can we have data "imbued with form"? At least in one meaning of the word,  form could be context. And this is where IntOp is working - to apply context to data is to imbue it with form.

Wurman further writes that  "So the great information age is really an explosion of non-information; it is an explosion of data.( ...)If it doesn’t make sense to you, it doesn’t qualify for the appellation (of information)." Again, we think that context is the most pragmatic way turning data into information and further, into organizational knowledge. The most interesting and intuitive contexts are those that are already in place. This could be processes, guidelines, procedures, standards or subject matter insights.

November 1st, 2017

Øystein Drivflaadt, CTO, IntOp

Contact : od@intop.no

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