The Noetic Prism
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Definitions of 'knowledge' and its relationships with 'data' and 'information' are varied, inconsistent and often contradictory. In particular the traditional hierarchy of data-information-knowledge and its various revisions do not stand up to close scrutiny. We suggest that the problem lies in a flawed analysis that sees data, information and knowledge as separable concepts that are transformed into one another through processing. We propose instead that we can describe collectively all of the materials of computation as 'noetica', and that the terms data, information and knowledge can be reconceptualised as late-binding, purpose-determined aspects of the same body of material. Changes in complexity of noetica occur due to value-adding through the imposition of three different principles: increase in aggregation (granularity), increase in set relatedness (shape), and increase in contextualisation through the formation of networks (scope). We present a new model in which granularity, shape and scope are seen as the three vertices of a triangular prism, and show that all value-adding through computation can be seen as movement within the prism space. We show how the conceptual framework of the noetic prism provides a new and comprehensive analysis of the foundations of computing and information systems, and how it can provide a fresh analysis of many of the common problems in the management of intellectual resources
Computing and Information Systems
Copyright 2005 University of the West of Scotland. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.