The three concepts are information environment, information access, and information organization. To examine each concept as a discrete entity is an artificial division I am constructing to concretely discuss the ideas. Each idea is one part of a whole, without which the structure does not stand. Together these three ideas form one lens with which to examine the discipline of information science[i].
For the purposes of this essay, data will be defined as discrete pieces of information, regardless if it is analog or digital; for example, chapter information in a table at the beginning of a book is data, and the temperature at noon over a month held in a spreadsheet is also data.
Metadata, defined literally, as “data about data”, gives a framework with which to work with the data. Data with metadata and analysis can become information[ii]. Information metadata and analysis can become knowledge. Knowledge with metadata and analysis can become wisdom. [iii] Without the surrounding metadata and analysis, the higher usability is lost or never reached.
Information professionals take data and create information, many times in ways that are so integrated into daily life people do not recognize the work needed to move from data to information. In this way, information professionals create that bridge. In “Information Environment” I discuss the data in its environment. In “Information Access” I discuss the need for people to be able to access data. In “Information Organization” I discuss ways information professionals bridge the gap of data in its environment with the needs of people to access that data.
The essays are able to stand alone, however, I intend for them to be read with this essay first, then Information Environment, followed by Information Access, and concluding with Information Organization. Links at the end of each essay will guide readers to the next essay.