Studies & Degrees in Information Science

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The field of information science is different from information theory. Information science is the field that is primarily involved with the collection and classification, analysis and manipulation, storage and retrieval, and dissemination and distribution of information. Information theory on the other hand is a division of the applied mathematical sciences and of engineering which is concerned with quantifying information.

Information science is also often mistakenly thought of as a division of computer science. This is not accurate however because information science is a very broad interdisciplinary field which include not only computer science but also social sciences, management, communications, philosophy, and public policy.

Practitioners of information science study the usage and the application of knowledge (i.e. information) within organizations and various other groups of people. Alongside this, they also study the interaction between and among organizations and groups of people, including any applicable system of information that exists within these groups. From the results of these studies, practitioners of information science aim to improve these information systems or to create and provide new and better ones.

Practitioners of information science also focus more on understanding the problems that are at the system level rather than the problems within the individuals that make up the system. They look at the difficulties that are occurring by using the point of view of the stakeholders and then try to come up with solutions based on the information that they have gathered and analyzed.

To become more familiar with the field of information science, one can take a course in a university. These courses usually dwell on three general areas of concern: the foundations of information science, the cognitive area of information science, and the systems and technologies involved in information science.

The foundations of information science provide a general overview of the history of information science and conceptual structures, the academic roots, and the methodologies involved in this field. It explores the principles and the concepts that underlie the information science, which include studies on information systems analysis, information storage and consequent retrieval, and information systems design and development.

The cognitive area of information science deals with the principles and techniques that are used in information science to study the relationships between cognition, artificial intelligence, and even neurobiology. It gives a deeper understanding of the computational approaches involved in language processing and the issues in language architectures which include semantics, syntax, and pragmatics.

The systems and technologies area of information science meanwhile tackles the data structures and the client-server systems involved in communications systems. Information systems design is also adequately covered along with information systems analysis, software engineering, network stability and security, and web or internet technologies and standards.

A host of career opportunities await the practitioner of information science. Any organization in almost any field will have a great need for the services of the information scientist. For example, the health care industry has a need for practitioners of information science to manage computer based digital libraries of medical records and other patient information.