Mapping Information Landscapes – a first step

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments, Events) by ronan on 04-04-2014

Manchester March 2014Spent a great couple of days at Manchester University last week working on Mapping Information Landscapes with colleagues Fred Garnett and Drew Whitworth. The aim was to secure some funding to develop a rationale and methodology that would help gain a deep understanding of urban “cityscapes” from the information patterns they present. We looked at the issues from a range of different perspectives; scientific, philosophical, technological, geographical, knowledge management, information science.

So what is my interest in this? Well, I’m not so sure about the mapping aspect; that is,  I don’t know how it might be done, although I’m sure there is technology that can help. The information landscapes certainly engage me, and the terms communities, resources and learning in this context are all difficult to define and shape into something that has wide appeal; herein lies the problem for the academic. Yet in all communities, information forms the basis of learning and the associated resources can be in demand; in addition, the skills required to engage with resources can be in demand. This landscape can be monetised and institutionalised or it can  evolve more openly (my preference). Perspectives can be from the ‘information’ point of view, i.e. watching information flow(s) through communities. Equally, a perspective from the individual might provide a sociological lens, or a ‘learning’ (theory) perspective may be used to understand knowledge creation. An economic view, in this era of neo-liberalism, would perhaps seek to monetise the landscape and identify a commercial angle. Cultural and heritage angles are also important.  I’m interested in all these views (and others) of the information landscape.

I was impressed with the range of people – some of whom are in the photo – from Norway, Russia (5 delegates), Brazil, Pakistan and the UK. Fred has promised to curate the conversation that has come out of the event, and this will shed more light on the issues and, more importantly, the progress we may have made. Fred’s presentation slides can be found here


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