In business terms information is processed, organised, structured and categorised information. It gives meaning to data and allows effective decision making. For instance, a particular customer’s sale in a restaurant is information this becomes information when a business can identify which dish is the best or least popular. Similarly, all relevant information about the client is available through the sales system if this is effectively combined with information about the customers.
In a recent article on the website of The Association for the Marketing of Health Professions, the author Jennifer Cuevas presented her definition of an information booth as follows: “An information booth is a booth that contains factual information on a particular health topic, along with interactive components where the consumer can ask questions or share views or opinions. Informative, engaging, and informative.” She goes on to say that an information booth is a great tool for educating people and providing information, but it should not replace a visit to a health professional for diagnosis or care. Instead it should complement a health professional’s visit by providing additional information.
It is interesting to note that in this definition, information noun refers not only to information about a specific matter, but also to general statements, generalisations about a category of matters. In other words, one can say that an information nugget is a piece of information. Information nuggets are often presented by advertisers or PR professionals during news reporting. An example is a news item about new research into a particular disease, illness or condition. The term information nugget then applies to that piece of information, regardless of its veracity, accuracy or relevance.
It therefore seems that information nugget has no fixed etymology, and is simply a contemporary French term, as its English counterpart, information, does have a fixed etymology (from the Latin informal meaning ‘of knowledge’). However it may be more than this. What is clear, however, is that information nugget derives from information science, especially computer science. Computers are not simple machines, but they can collect and process vast amounts of data. This information is then stored and manipulated in sophisticated ways, generating reports and sometimes articles (data sheets) in order to support certain business decisions and marketing strategies. These information sheets then form the basis of much of the information we receive and consume every day.
Computer scientists use many terms to describe the processes involved and the results of those processes. One of these is informatics. In etymology, informatics is a subset of technology studies, and informatics is intimately connected with computer science. It has recently been used in the field of healthcare to refer to the process of collecting, organising, storing and disseminating health-related information. In the context of information science, it is used to describe the methodology by which science is built on information gathered from a variety of sources, including primary research, reviews, case studies, and specialist literature.
In its most general terms, information science can be seen as the discipline that seeks to model the way in which natural systems work, using information to describe the behavior of these systems. The most common models are operational, structural, and probabilistic. Operational models deal with how information behaves in an agent-based environment, while structural models deal with agents and their knowledge of the environment. Probabilistic models deal more with what is likely to happen, given a set of parameters, rather than what has actually happened in the past. In fact, modern IT departments often refer to their subject matter as informatics, even when they are operating systems themselves. In the end, however, it is up to the readers to draw their own conclusions as to what information is useful or useless, and whether it can be called information at all.