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Information is processed, organised and structured
data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), variables about one or m ...
. It provides context for data and enables decision making process. For example, a single customer’s sale at a restaurant is data – this becomes information when the business is able to identify the most popular or least popular dish. More technically, information can be thought of as the resolution of
uncertainty Uncertainty refers to Epistemology, epistemic situations involving imperfect or unknown information. It applies to predictions of future events, to physical measurements that are already made, or to the unknown. Uncertainty arises in partially o ...

uncertainty
; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteristics. The concept of ''information'' has different meanings in different contexts. Thus the concept becomes synonymous to notions of constraint,
communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner thought and outer world." As this definition indica ...
, control,
data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), variables about one or m ...
,
form Form is the shape, visual appearance, or :wikt:configuration, configuration of an object. In a wider sense, the form is the way something happens. Form also refers to: *Form (document), a document (printed or electronic) with spaces in which to w ...

form
,
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion a ...
,
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to exp ...
,
meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed in philosophy * Meaning (non-linguistic), a general ter ...
,
understanding Understanding is a psychological process related to concepts, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to make sense of them. Understanding is a relation between the knower and an object of understanding. Understanding implies ...

understanding
,
mental stimuli Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangladeshi romantic-action movie * ''Mental'', a 2008 documentary by ...
,
pattern A pattern is a regularity in the world, in human-made design, or in abstract ideas. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. A geometric pattern is a kind of pattern formed of geometric shape A shape is the form of a ...
,
perception Perception (from the Latin ''perceptio'', meaning gathering or receiving) is the organization, identification, and interpretation of Sense, sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. ...

perception
,
proposition In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is shared by all sentences with the same mea ...
,
representation Representation may refer to: Law and politics *Representation (politics) Political representation is the activity of making citizens "present" in public policy making processes when political actors act in the best interest of citizens. This defin ...
, and
entropy Entropy is a scientific concept as well as a measurable physical property that is most commonly associated with a state of disorder, randomness, or uncertainty. The term and the concept are used in diverse fields, from classical thermodynamics ...
. Information is associated with
data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), variables about one or m ...
. The difference is that information resolves uncertainty. Data can represent redundant symbols, but approaches information through optimal
data compression In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, and synthesizing signals such as audio signal processing, sound, image processing, images, and scientific measurements. Signal ...
. Information can be transmitted in time, via
data storage On a reel-to-reel tape recorder (Sony TC-630), the recorder is data storage equipment and the magnetic tape is a data storage medium. Data storage is the recording (storing) of information Information can be thought of as the resoluti ...
, and space, via
communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner thought and outer world." As this definition indica ...
and
telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical, flexible strand or rod of metal. Wires are used to bear mechanical loads or electricity Electr ...
. Information is expressed either as the content of a
message A message is a discrete unit of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner ...

message
or through direct or indirect
observation Observation is the active acquisition of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteristics. Th ...

observation
. That which is
perceived Perception (from the Latin ''perceptio'', meaning gathering or receiving) is the organization, identification, and interpretation of Sense, sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. ...

perceived
can be construed as a message in its own right, and in that sense, information is always conveyed as the content of a message. Information can be
encoded In communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner thought and outer world." As ...
into various forms for
transmission Transmission may refer to: Science and technology * Power transmissionPower transmission is the movement of energy from its place of generation to a location where it is applied to perform useful Mechanical work, work. Power (physics), Power is d ...
and
interpretation Interpretation may refer to: Culture * Aesthetic interpretation, an explanation of the meaning of a work of art * Allegorical interpretation, an approach that assumes a text should not be interpreted literally * Dramatic Interpretation, an event i ...
(for example, information may be encoded into a
sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed and order theory, order matters. Like a Set (mathematics), set, it contains Element (mathematics), members (also called ''elements'', or ''terms''). ...

sequence
of signs, or transmitted via a
signal In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, and synthesizing signals such as audio signal processing, sound, image processing, images, and scientific measurements. Sig ...
). It can also be
encrypted In cryptography, encryption is the process of Code, encoding information. This process converts the original representation of the information, known as plaintext, into an alternative form known as ciphertext. Ideally, only authorized parties can ...

encrypted
for safe storage and communication. The uncertainty of an event is measured by its probability of occurrence. Uncertainty is inversely proportional to the probability of occurrence.
Information theory Information theory is the scientific study of the quantification (science), quantification, computer data storage, storage, and telecommunication, communication of Digital data, digital information. The field was fundamentally established by the ...
takes advantage of this fact by concluding that more uncertain events require more information to resolve their uncertainty. The
bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both ...
is a typical
unit of information In computing and telecommunications, a unit of information is the capacity of some standard data storage system or communication channel, used to measure the capacities of other systems and channels. In information theory, units of information are ...
. It is 'that which reduces uncertainty by half'. Other units such as the nat may be used. For example, the information encoded in one "fair" coin flip is log2(2/1) = 1 bit, and in two fair coin flips is log2(4/1) = 2 bits. A 2011 ''
Science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the u ...
'' article estimated that 97% of technologically stored information was already in digital
bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both ...
s in 2007, and that the year 2002 was the beginning of the
digital age#REDIRECT Information Age The Information Age (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age) is a historical periodHuman history is commonly divided into three main Era, eras — Ancient history, Ancient, Post-classical history, ...
for information storage (with digital storage capacity bypassing analog for the first time). Free access to the article at martinhilbert.net/WorldInfoCapacity.html


Etymology

The English word "information" comes from Middle French ''enformacion/informacion/information'' 'a criminal investigation' and its etymon, Latin ''informatiō(n)'' 'conception, teaching, creation'. In English, "information" is an uncountable
mass noun In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
.


Information theory

Information theory is the scientific study of the quantification, storage, and
communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner thought and outer world." As this definition indica ...
of information. The field was fundamentally established by the works of
Harry Nyquist Harry Nyquist (, ; February 7, 1889 – April 4, 1976) was a Swedish-American electronic engineer who made important contributions to communication theory. Personal life Nyquist was born in the village Nilsby of the parish Stora Kil, Värmland, ...
and
Ralph Hartley Ralph Vinton Lyon Hartley (November 30, 1888 – May 1, 1970) was an American electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matte ...
in the 1920s, and
Claude Shannon Claude Elwood Shannon (April 30, 1916 – February 24, 2001) was an American mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such top ...
in the 1940s. The field is at the intersection of
probability theory Probability theory is the branch of mathematics concerned with probability. Although there are several different probability interpretations, probability theory treats the concept in a rigorous mathematical manner by expressing it through a set of ...
,
statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statistical ...

statistics
, computer science,
statistical mechanics In physics, statistical mechanics is a mathematical framework that applies Statistics, statistical methods and probability theory to large assemblies of microscopic entities. It does not assume or postulate any natural laws, but explains the ma ...
, information engineering, and
electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. It emerged as an identifiable occupation in the la ...
. A key measure in information theory is
entropy Entropy is a scientific concept as well as a measurable physical property that is most commonly associated with a state of disorder, randomness, or uncertainty. The term and the concept are used in diverse fields, from classical thermodynamics ...
. Entropy quantifies the amount of uncertainty involved in the value of a
random variable In probability and statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventio ...
or the outcome of a
random process In probability theory Probability theory is the branch of mathematics concerned with probability. Although there are several different probability interpretations, probability theory treats the concept in a rigorous mathematical manner by expre ...
. For example, identifying the outcome of a fair
coin flip Coin flipping, coin tossing, or heads or tails is the practice of throwing a coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'' ...
(with two equally likely outcomes) provides less information (lower entropy) than specifying the outcome from a roll of a
die Die, as a verb, refers to death, the cessation of life. Die may also refer to: Games * Die, singular of dice, small throwable objects used for producing random numbers Manufacturing * Die (integrated circuit), a rectangular piece of a semiconduct ...
(with six equally likely outcomes). Some other important measures in information theory are
mutual information In probability theory Probability theory is the branch of mathematics concerned with probability. Although there are several different probability interpretations, probability theory treats the concept in a rigorous mathematical manner by expr ...
, channel capacity,
error exponent In information theory Information theory is the scientific study of the quantification, storage, and communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (ph ...
s, and
relative entropy Relative may refer to: General use *Kinship and family, the principle binding the most basic social units society. If two people are connected by circumstances of birth, they are said to be ''relatives'' Philosophy *Relativism, the concept that p ...
. Important sub-fields of information theory include
source coding In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, and synthesizing signals such as audio signal processing, sound, image processing, images, and scientific measurements. Signal ...
,
algorithmic complexity theory upright=1.4, This image illustrates part of the Mandelbrot set fractal. Simply storing the 24-bit color of each pixel in this image would require 1.61 million bytes, but a small computer program can reproduce these 1.61 million bytes using the def ...
,
algorithmic information theory Algorithmic information theory (AIT) is a branch of theoretical computer science An artistic representation of a Turing machine. Turing machines are used to model general computing devices. Theoretical computer science (TCS) is a subset of gene ...
, and
information-theoretic securityInformation-theoretic security is security of a cryptosystem In cryptography Cryptography, or cryptology (from grc, , translit=kryptós "hidden, secret"; and ''graphein'', "to write", or ''-logy, -logia'', "study", respectively), is the pr ...
. Applications of fundamental topics of information theory include source coding/
data compression In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, and synthesizing signals such as audio signal processing, sound, image processing, images, and scientific measurements. Signal ...
(e.g. for ZIP files), and channel coding/
error detection and correction In information theory Information theory is the scientific study of the quantification, storage, and communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subjec ...
(e.g. for
DSL Digital subscriber line (DSL; originally digital subscriber loop) is a family of technologies that are used to transmit digital data Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardwa ...
). Its impact has been crucial to the success of the
Voyager Voyager may refer to: Computing and communications * LG Voyager The LG VX10000, also known as the Verizon Voyager or LG VX10K, is an Internet-enabled multimedia phone designed by LG Electronics and carried by Verizon Wireless, Telus, and Bel ...
missions to deep space, the invention of the
compact disc The compact disc (CD) is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of electronics Electronics compris ...

compact disc
, the feasibility of mobile phones and the development of the Internet. The theory has also found applications in other areas, including
statistical inference Statistical inference is the process of using data analysis Data analysis is a process of inspecting, Data cleansing, cleansing, Data transformation, transforming, and Data modeling, modeling data with the goal of discovering useful information ...
,
cryptography Cryptography, or cryptology (from grc, , translit=kryptós "hidden, secret"; and ''graphein'', "to write", or ''-logia ''-logy'' is a suffix In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompa ...
,
neurobiology Neuroscience (or neurobiology) is the scientific study of the nervous system In Biology, biology, the nervous system is a Complex system, highly complex part of an animal that coordinates its Behavior, actions and Sense, sensory informatio ...
,
perception Perception (from the Latin ''perceptio'', meaning gathering or receiving) is the organization, identification, and interpretation of Sense, sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. ...

perception
, linguistics, the evolution and function of molecular codes (
bioinformatics Image:Genome viewer screenshot small.png, thumbnail, 220px, Map of the human X chromosome (from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website) Bioinformatics () is an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools fo ...
),
thermal physics Example of a thermal column between the ground and a cumulus A thermal column (or thermal) is a column of rising air in the lower altitudes of Earth's atmosphere File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by vo ...
,
quantum computing Quantum computing is the use of quantum phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform computation. Computers that perform quantum computations are known as quantum computers. They are believed to be able to solve certain computa ...
, black holes,
information retrieval Information retrieval (IR) in computing and information science is the process of obtaining information system resources that are relevant to an information need from a collection of those resources. Searches can be based on full-text search, fu ...
,
intelligence gathering This is a list of intelligence gathering disciplines. HUMINT Human intelligence (HUMINT) are gathered from a person in the location in question. Sources can include the following: * Advisors or foreign internal defense Foreign internal ...
, plagiarism detection,
pattern recognition Pattern recognition is the automated recognition of pattern A pattern is a regularity in the world, in human-made design, or in abstract ideas. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. A geometric pattern is a kind of p ...
,
anomaly detection In data analysis, anomaly detection (also outlier detection) is the identification of rare items, events or observations which raise suspicions by differing significantly from the majority of the data. Typically the anomalous items will translate to ...
and even art creation.


As sensory input

Often information can be viewed as a type of input to an
organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by taxonomy (biology), taxonomy into groups such as Multice ...

organism
or
system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, structure and purpo ...

system
. Inputs are of two kinds; some inputs are important to the function of the organism (for example, food) or system (
energy In physics, energy is the physical quantity, quantitative physical property, property that must be #Energy transfer, transferred to a physical body, body or physical system to perform Work (thermodynamics), work on the body, or to heat it. En ...

energy
) by themselves. In his book ''Sensory Ecology'' biophysicist David B. Dusenbery called these causal inputs. Other inputs (information) are important only because they are associated with causal inputs and can be used to predict the occurrence of a causal input at a later time (and perhaps another place). Some information is important because of association with other information but eventually there must be a connection to a causal input. In practice, information is usually carried by weak stimuli that must be detected by specialized sensory systems and amplified by energy inputs before they can be functional to the organism or system. For example, light is mainly (but not only, e.g. plants can grow in the direction of the lightsource) a causal input to plants but for animals it only provides information. The colored light reflected from a flower is too weak for photosynthesis but the visual system of the bee detects it and the bee's nervous system uses the information to guide the bee to the flower, where the bee often finds nectar or pollen, which are causal inputs, serving a nutritional function.


As representation and complexity

The
cognitive scientist Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary, scientific Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...
and applied mathematician Ronaldo Vigo argues that information is a concept that requires at least two related entities to make quantitative sense. These are, any dimensionally defined category of objects S, and any of its subsets R. R, in essence, is a representation of S, or, in other words, conveys representational (and hence, conceptual) information about S. Vigo then defines the amount of information that R conveys about S as the rate of change in the
complexity Complexity characterises the behaviour of a system or model (disambiguation), model whose components interaction, interact in multiple ways and follow local rules, meaning there is no reasonable higher instruction to define the various possible in ...
of S whenever the objects in R are removed from S. Under "Vigo information", pattern, invariance, complexity, representation, and information—five fundamental constructs of universal science—are unified under a novel mathematical framework. Among other things, the framework aims to overcome the limitations of Shannon-Weaver information when attempting to characterize and measure subjective information.


As an influence that leads to transformation

Information is any type of pattern that influences the formation or transformation of other patterns. In this sense, there is no need for a conscious mind to perceive, much less appreciate, the pattern. Consider, for example,
DNA The structure of part of a DNA double helix Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings ...
. The sequence of
nucleotide Nucleotides are organic molecules , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, c ...

nucleotide
s is a pattern that influences the formation and development of an organism without any need for a conscious mind. One might argue though that for a human to consciously define a pattern, for example a nucleotide, naturally involves conscious information processing.
Systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems, i.e. cohesive groups of interrelated, interdependent parts that can be natural or man-made, human-made. Every system is bounded by space and time, influenced by its environment, defined by i ...
at times seems to refer to information in this sense, assuming information does not necessarily involve any conscious mind, and patterns circulating (due to
feedback Feedback occurs when outputs of a system are routed back as inputs as part of a chain Image:Kettenvergleich.jpg, Roller chains A chain is a wikt:series#Noun, serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with a ...

feedback
) in the system can be called information. In other words, it can be said that information in this sense is something potentially perceived as representation, though not created or presented for that purpose. For example,
Gregory Bateson Gregory Bateson (9 May 1904 – 4 July 1980) was an English anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social an ...
defines "information" as a "difference that makes a difference". If, however, the premise of "influence" implies that information has been perceived by a conscious mind and also interpreted by it, the specific context associated with this interpretation may cause the transformation of the information into
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to exp ...
. Complex definitions of both "information" and "knowledge" make such semantic and logical analysis difficult, but the condition of "transformation" is an important point in the study of information as it relates to knowledge, especially in the business discipline of
knowledge management Knowledge management (KM) is the collection of methods relating to creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), s ...

knowledge management
. In this practice, tools and processes are used to assist a
knowledge worker Knowledge workers are workers The workforce or labour force is the labour pool either in employment or unemployed.https://www.bls.gov/bls/glossary.htm It is generally used to describe those working for a single types of companies, company o ...
in performing research and making decisions, including steps such as: * Review information to effectively derive value and meaning * Reference
metadata Metadata is "data that provides information about other data", but not the content of the data, such as the text of a message or the image itself. There are many distinct types of metadata, including: * Descriptive metadata — the descriptive i ...

metadata
if available * Establish
relevant
relevant
context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the relevant constraints of the communicative situation that influence language use, language variation, and discourse summary. Computing * Context (computing), the virtual environment required to ...
, often from many possible contexts * Derive new knowledge from the information * Make decisions or recommendations from the resulting knowledge Stewart (2001) argues that transformation of information into knowledge is critical, lying at the core of value creation and
competitive advantage In business, a competitive advantage is the attribute that allows an organization to outperform its competitors. A competitive advantage may include access to natural resources , Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. ...
for the modern enterprise. The Danish Dictionary of Information Terms argues that information only provides an answer to a posed question. Whether the answer provides knowledge depends on the informed person. So a generalized definition of the concept should be: "Information" = An answer to a specific question". When
Marshall McLuhan Herbert Marshall McLuhan (July 21, 1911 – December 31, 1980) was a Canadian philosopher, whose work is among the cornerstones of the study of media theory. . . Retrieved 24 June 2020. . . Retrieved 24 June 2020. Born in Edmonton, Alberta, an ...

Marshall McLuhan
speaks of
media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising ** Broadcast media, communications deliv ...
and their effects on human cultures, he refers to the structure of artifacts that in turn shape our behaviors and mindsets. Also,
pheromone exposes Nasonov's gland (white – at tip of abdomen) releasing pheromone to entice swarm into an empty hive A pheromone (from Ancient Greek ' "to bear" and hormone) is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in mem ...
s are often said to be "information" in this sense.


Technologically mediated information

These sections are using measurements of data rather than information as information cannot be directly measured.


As of 2007

It is estimated that the world's technological capacity to store information grew from 2.6 (optimally compressed)
exabytes The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It ...
in 1986 – which is the informational equivalent to less than one 730-MB
CD-ROM A CD-ROM (, compact disc read-only memory) is a pre-pressed optical compact disc#REDIRECT Compact disc {{redirect category shell, {{R move {{R from other capitalization, printworthy {{R yes print ... that contains data Data are units of in ...
per person (539 MB per person) – to 295 (optimally compressed)
exabytes The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It ...
in 2007. This is the informational equivalent of almost 61
CD-ROM A CD-ROM (, compact disc read-only memory) is a pre-pressed optical compact disc#REDIRECT Compact disc {{redirect category shell, {{R move {{R from other capitalization, printworthy {{R yes print ... that contains data Data are units of in ...
per person in 2007. The world's combined technological capacity to receive information through one-way
broadcast Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notion of functi ...

broadcast
networks was the informational equivalent of 174
newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publications that appear in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most ...

newspaper
s per person per day in 2007. The world's combined effective capacity to exchange information through two-way
telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical, flexible strand or rod of metal. Wires are used to bear mechanical loads or electricity Electr ...
networks was the informational equivalent of 6 newspapers per person per day in 2007. As of 2007, an estimated 90% of all new information is digital, mostly stored on hard drives.


As of 2020

The total amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed globally is forecast to increase rapidly, reaching 64.2 zettabytes in 2020. Over the next five years up to 2025, global data creation is projected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes.


As records

Records are specialized forms of information. Essentially, records are information produced consciously or as by-products of business activities or transactions and retained because of their value. Primarily, their value is as evidence of the activities of the organization but they may also be retained for their informational value. Sound
records managementRecords management, also known as records and information management, is an organizational function devoted to the management of information in an organization throughout its life cycle Life cycle, life-cycle, or lifecycle may refer to: Science ...
ensures that the integrity of records is preserved for as long as they are required. The international standard on records management, ISO 15489, defines records as "information created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business". The International Committee on Archives (ICA) Committee on electronic records defined a record as, "recorded information produced or received in the initiation, conduct or completion of an institutional or individual activity and that comprises content, context and structure sufficient to provide evidence of the activity". Records may be maintained to retain corporate memory of the organization or to meet legal, fiscal or accountability requirements imposed on the organization. Willis expressed the view that sound management of business records and information delivered "...six key requirements for good
corporate governance Corporate governance is the collection of mechanisms, processes and relations used by various parties to control and to operate a corporation. Governance structures and principles identify the distribution of rights and responsibilities among diff ...
...transparency; accountability; due process; compliance; meeting statutory and common law requirements; and security of personal and corporate information."


Semiotics

Michael BucklandMichael Keeble Buckland (born 1941) is an emeritus professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information and co-director of the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative. Buckland was born and grew up in England. He entered library work as a trainee at the ...
has classified "information" in terms of its uses: "information as process", "information as knowledge", and "information as thing". Beynon-Davies explains the multi-faceted concept of information in terms of signs and signal-sign systems. Signs themselves can be considered in terms of four inter-dependent levels, layers or branches of
semiotics Semiotics (also called semiotic studies) is the study of sign processes (semiosis), which are any activity, conduct, or process that involves Sign (semiotics), signs, where a sign is defined as anything that communicates a Meaning (semiotics), mean ...

semiotics
: pragmatics, semantics, syntax, and empirics. These four layers serve to connect the social world on the one hand with the physical or technical world on the other.
Pragmatics In linguistics and related fields, pragmatics is the study of how context (language use), context contributes to meaning. The field of study evaluates how human language is utilized in social interactions, as well as the relationship between the ...
is concerned with the purpose of communication. Pragmatics links the issue of signs with the context within which signs are used. The focus of pragmatics is on the intentions of living agents underlying communicative behaviour. In other words, pragmatics link language to action.
Semantics Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another o ...
is concerned with the meaning of a message conveyed in a communicative act. Semantics considers the content of communication. Semantics is the study of the meaning of signs - the association between signs and behaviour. Semantics can be considered as the study of the link between symbols and their referents or concepts – particularly the way that signs relate to human behavior.
Syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentences (sentence structure) in a given Natural language, language, usually including word order. The term ''syntax'' ...

Syntax
is concerned with the formalism used to represent a message. Syntax as an area studies the form of communication in terms of the logic and grammar of sign systems. Syntax is devoted to the study of the form rather than the content of signs and sign-systems. Nielsen (2008) discusses the relationship between semiotics and information in relation to dictionaries. He introduces the concept of
lexicographic information cost Lexicographic information cost is a concept within the field of lexicography Lexicography is divided into two separate but equally important groups: * Practical lexicography is the art or craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupa ...
s and refers to the effort a user of a dictionary must make to first find, and then understand data so that they can generate information. Communication normally exists within the context of some social situation. The social situation sets the context for the intentions conveyed (pragmatics) and the form of communication. In a communicative situation intentions are expressed through messages that comprise collections of inter-related signs taken from a language mutually understood by the agents involved in the communication. Mutual understanding implies that agents involved understand the chosen language in terms of its agreed syntax (syntactics) and semantics. The sender codes the message in the language and sends the message as signals along some communication channel (empirics). The chosen communication channel has inherent properties that determine outcomes such as the speed at which communication can take place, and over what distance.


The application of information study

The information cycle (addressed as a whole or in its distinct components) is of great concern to information technology,
information systems An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical, organizational system designed to collect, process, store, and distribute information. In a sociotechnical perspective, information systems are composed by four components: task, people, struc ...
, as well as
information science Information science (also known as information studies) is an academic field which is primarily concerned with analysis, collection, Categorization, classification, manipulation, storage, information retrieval, retrieval, movement, dissemination ...
. These fields deal with those processes and techniques pertaining to information capture (through
sensors A sensor is a device that produces an output signal for the purpose of sensing of a physical phenomenon. In the broadest definition, a sensor is a device, module, machine, or subsystem that detects events or changes in its environment and se ...
) and generation (through
computation Computation is any type of calculation A calculation is a deliberate process that transforms one or more inputs into one or more results. The term is used in a variety of senses, from the very definite arithmetic Arithmetic (from the Ancient ...
,
formulation Formulation is a term used in various senses in various applications, both the material and the abstract or formal. Its fundamental meaning is the putting together of components in appropriate relationships or structures, according to a formula ...
or composition), processing (including encoding, encryption, compression, packaging),
transmission Transmission may refer to: Science and technology * Power transmissionPower transmission is the movement of energy from its place of generation to a location where it is applied to perform useful Mechanical work, work. Power (physics), Power is d ...
(including all
telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical, flexible strand or rod of metal. Wires are used to bear mechanical loads or electricity Electr ...
methods), presentation (including
visualization Visualization or visualisation may refer to: *Visualization (graphics) Visualization or visualisation (see spelling differences Despite the various English dialects spoken from country to country and within different regions of the sam ...
/
display Display may refer to: Technology * Display device, output device for presenting information, including: ** Cathode ray tube, video display that provides a quality picture, but can be very heavy and deep ** Electronic visual display, output device ...
methods), storage (such as magnetic or optical, including ), etc.
Information visualization Information visualization (or ''visualisation'') is the study of visual representations of abstract data to reinforce human cognition. The abstract data include both numerical and non-numerical data, such as text and geographic information. It is ...
(shortened as InfoVis) depends on the computation and digital representation of data, and assists users in
pattern recognition Pattern recognition is the automated recognition of pattern A pattern is a regularity in the world, in human-made design, or in abstract ideas. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. A geometric pattern is a kind of p ...
and
anomaly detection In data analysis, anomaly detection (also outlier detection) is the identification of rare items, events or observations which raise suspicions by differing significantly from the majority of the data. Typically the anomalous items will translate to ...
. Internet map 1024.jpg, Partial map of the Internet, with nodes representing IP addresses Structure of the Universe.jpg, Galactic (including dark) matter distribution in a cubic section of the Universe XD Aolet.jpg, Information embedded in an abstract mathematical object with symmetry breaking nucleus Attractor Poisson Saturne.jpg, Visual representation of a strange attractor, with converted data of its fractal structure
Information security Information security, sometimes shortened to infosec, is the practice of protecting information by mitigating information risks. It is part of Risk management information systems, information risk management. It typically involves preventing or at ...

Information security
(shortened as InfoSec) is the ongoing process of exercising due diligence to protect information, and information systems, from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, destruction, modification, disruption or distribution, through algorithms and procedures focused on monitoring and detection, as well as incident response and repair. Information analysis is the process of inspecting, transforming, and modelling information, by converting raw data into actionable knowledge, in support of the decision-making process. Information quality (shortened as InfoQ) is the potential of a dataset to achieve a specific (scientific or practical) goal using a given empirical analysis method. Information communication represents the convergence of informatics, telecommunication and audio-visual media & content.


See also


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Semantic Conceptions of Information
Review by Luciano Floridi for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Principia Cybernetica entry on negentropy

Fisher Information, a New Paradigm for Science: Introduction, Uncertainty principles, Wave equations, Ideas of Escher, Kant, Plato and Wheeler.
This essay is continually revised in the light of ongoing research.

an attempt to estimate how much new information is created each year (study was produced by faculty and students at the UC Berkeley School of Information, School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California at Berkeley) *
Informationsordbogen.dk
The Danish Dictionary of Information Terms / Informationsordbogen {{Authority control Information, Concepts in metaphysics Information science Main topic articles