Monday, 29 March 2021

Ten assertions about the nature of information narratives - insights from the DTMD project

Over a period of more than ten years, my OU colleague, Dr Magnus Ramage, and I ran the interdisciplinary project we called "The Difference That Makes a Difference" (DTMD), aimed at developing an understand of the nature of information by inviting contributors from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives to discuss what is it that they are calling information. 

I am now retired and the DTMD group at the OU has evolved into the 'Critical Information Studies' research group (still, as of now, with the DTMD url:, so Magnus and I wrote a paper to round-off the project by sharing what we found most significant from the DTMD project and what has shaped their view of information:

Chapman, David; Ramage, Magnus. 2021. "When ‘The Difference That Makes a Difference’ Makes a Difference: A Bottom-Up Approach to the Study of Information" Information 12, no. 2: 77. (OU ORO entry)

Our understanding is presented as ten (contestable) assertions about information: narratives of information offered to the information community as a contribution to the debate about the nature of information.

Here are the assertions:

1     Information requires a body
2     Information can be quantified
3     Information depends on context
4     Information cannot be stored or communicated
5     Information always has meaning
6     Information does something
7     Information is provisional
8     Information is never ethically neutral
9     Information is co-created with human identity
10   Information is always shaped by power, authority and hierarchy

I hope to blog more about these over the coming weeks, but for now I just ask you to read the paper (which is open access on MDPI "Information")

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