FN-Blog-1 (information ecosystem)


I. What is Information Ecosystem?
Information ecosystem is used to describe how local communities exist and evolve within particular information and communication systems. Within these systems, different types of news and information may be received from outside then passed on to others through word of mouth, key community members, phone, the Internet, and the like. An examination of an information ecosystem looks at the flow, trust, use and impact of news and information.
An information ecosystem is not a static entity; it is by nature constantly evolving and changing. Nor is it a separate form; it can be defined at many levels, from global to national to community to interest-based groupings within communities.
Information ecosystems can also be refer to a loose, dynamic configuration of different sources, flows, producers, consumers, and sharers of information interacting within a defined community or space. A resonant and promising idea, information ecosystems are an underdeveloped concept in the literature.
The information ecosystem have Eight Critical Dimensions, which enable a holistic understanding and analysis of the information ecosystem of any given community or place. This can be seen from the figure below:

    II.        Significance of Information Ecosystem in Building Resiliency
The following are four case studies (Internews center) that highlights several observations about information ecosystems that are particularly significant in building resiliency:
1) Information ecosystems are shaped and constrained by their context. The ability for information to foster community resilience depends on broader factors that define the context, including a country’s media laws, the presence of conflict, the poverty gap, and the current development status of the entire country.
2) Trust is absolutely essential for information to have an influence on the lives of communities and individuals. Naturally, the strongest level of trust is found at the local levels through information shared among friends and families. In all of the case studies, people evaluate information in multiple ways to establish its validity.
3) The case studies confirm the notion that information is power
4) One of the most interesting themes central to all case studies was that technology broadens opportunities for citizens to participate in and shape their lives.

   III.    The “information ecosystem” metaphor
The “information ecosystem” metaphor is widely used in academic libraries and has become nearly ubiquitous when speaking of the information systems that support scholarly communication and varied forms of data sharing and publication.
The “information ecosystem” metaphor is a powerful way to understand complexes of data, people, and machines in a rapidly changing social and technological environment. When applied to human-built systems, such as an economy, this implication of naturalism imbued in the very term being used begins to confuse the actual system under analysis.
When applying ecology or ecosystem to technology and information the same laziness is never far away. Phrases like “big data ecosystem” or “scholarly ecosystem” are more accurately referring to the economic, business, and technological structures which support these human activities.
Information broadly conceived is what mediates relationships between living organisms and their non-living environment. While metaphors may be a useful way to understand novel phenomena, their forms and roles within learning processes are still under debate.
The negative outcomes must also be engaged. Unfortunately, the role that data and information play as a conduit between social phenomena and the natural world tends to be lost in the information ecosystem metaphor.
  IV.        Four criticisms in Information Metaphor  
Based on the observation of the study, four criticisms have been observe of the “information ecosystem” metaphor
1) The naturalizing of human communities through the metaphor of the information ecosystem in a scholarly context is problematic.
2) Information or data itself become a naturalized part of the environment.
3) An information ecology may lead to green washing of the information economy.
4) The natural environment fades into invisibility with the rhetoric of information ecosystems. An underlying “information ethic” binds these four critiques which will be explored in greater detail in this paper. The critique concludes with a discussion of useful ways forward to investigate and contribute to the sustainable management of our information systems, be they “data assemblages,” “digitally constructed memories,” or “cross-domain knowledge bases.”

Source: ANONYMOUS. (2015). Internews Center for Innovation and Learning. “WHY INFORMATION MATTERS A FOUNDATION FOR RESILIENCE” Retrieved from: https://www.internews.org/sites/default/files/resources/150513-Internews_WhyInformationMatters.pdf
 image source: Google

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