Monday, October 04, 2004

Finding data instead of knowledge

French language doesn't make any difference between "information retrieval" and "search" : "Rechercher" means "to find information", with no clear cut betweens the means and the goal.

French dictionary does specify a difference though between computer science's definition ("function that retreive specific datas") and information science's definition ("Work tool consultation of archives to seek information"). At least this is a clearer cut between means (computer world) and goal (communication goal. And this may show why, by the way, programmer and communication teams don't get well together)...

Information Retrieval uses search engine (like Google) with the aim to fetch relevant information. Wait, shouldn't we say data instead? And what about knowledge finding?

KM (knowledge management - but I prefer Knowledge work management) got one objective : finding /producing new knowledge.
"Knowledge Management is not about acquiring more information. It is about expanding the ability to get results - even with the same information".
C. Jackson Grayson, chairman and founder of the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC)
(via Florian Heidecke)

Meaning is created through a transformation processs :
  • Data : stocked on material
  • Information : Formal data
  • knownledge : formal information / ideas
To google isn't a neutral verb : the SERPs is highly mathematical but show nonetheless a world representation that isn't neutral. Classification, ontology, knowledge organization do come from a mind that discreminate data to make information relevant to him/herself. Nothing tells you that mind got your very own world's point of view. SERPs do change the way you see what is available, thus what the world (or your corporate memory) has for you.

And there come Serendipity and google pagerank as the new paradigm to fight information entropy and findability, but this is another story.

(French version of this post)


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