Anthony Debons

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The following material has been excerpted from the article: Foundations of Information Science, published in the Journal: Advances in Computers Vol. 33, by Academic Press 1996 pp.351-352.

The Emergence of a Metascience

Componential Integration

Growth of knowledge will continue, and its access, storage, use, and dissemination will remain a serious problem. The issue is seen as a matter of design. Design is an engineering activity that presupposes certain fundamentals about form-an integration and synthesis of process and content. If this is indeed the case, then the foundations of information science rest in the principles, theories and laws governing the creation of form (whole and parts in unity) and the application of such to design (science of the artificial)


Information scientists continue to struggle in their attempt to understand the nature of information and the boundaries of their science. The inclination is to refer to the physical sciences in their attempt to understand the phenomenon, leaving the question of appropriateness at the subliminal level, if even at that. In general, however, determining the essence of information is secondary to more practical concerns. These concerns involve the determination of the most efficient and effective way to access, store, use and disseminate the record of human experience. Dealing with the logistics of such commodities permeates the writings and interests of many scholars and professionals in the field. These concerns also represent the focus for the education of future scholars and professionals. meanwhile, these concerns continue to be influenced by advances in technology, particularly computers, the use of which has permeated a wide range of public and private institutions. These advances have tended to highlight the important role that the access to information and knowledge has in institutional operations, particularly in problem solving and decision making.

This influence is particularly marked in the emergence of decision support, management information and expert systems during the past three or so decades. It is in the structuring (design) of such systems that information science will continue to find definition. As such it will continue to reflect its interdisciplinary character. The design of data-information-knowledge systems will empower us to integrate and apply our intelectual endowments with the challenges of the present together with those of the future. The task is formidable. Implicit in this task is our understanding of form-the orchestration of the human potential with the tools that extend it. Toward this goal, information scientists are fortunate in their prediliction to consider themselves interdisciplinary, a predisposing condition for the achievmant of synthesis-a synthesys of process and function in achieving specific goals. As it now stands, information science is a field whose basic principles, theories and laws-even its foundations- lie in many discip[lines, both applied and theoretic. In its attempt to derive a definition of form, namely, the principles that marry the human and technological potentials, a could emerge with the power to serve all disciplines.

Coming soon: Knowledge Counseling-The Concept, The Process and its Application.

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