• “Deep down things”: in what ways is information physical, and why does it matter for LIS?,

    Author(s):
    David Bawden (see profile) , Lyn Robinson
    Date:
    2013
    Group(s):
    CityLIS
    Subject(s):
    Information science, Physics
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Information theory, Landauer
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6VQ2S92D
    Abstract:
    Based on a paper given at the 2013 CoLIS conference in Copenhagen. Rolf Landauer famously declared in 1991 that ‘information is physical’. Since then, information has come to be seen by many physicists as a fundamental component of the physical world; indeed by some as the physical component. This idea is now gaining currency in popular science communication. However, it is often far from clear what exactly this statement means; exactly how is information physical? Why does this matter for library and information science (LIS)? Because, apart from the added public awareness of the i-word in a very different context from the norm, it may that that there are general laws and principles – or at least useful metaphors and analogies – linking the concept of information in the physical, biological and social domains. This prospect – effectively attempting to make links between objective and subjective conceptions of information - has been strongly advocated by some authors from within LIS, and doubted by others. The purpose of this paper is to clarify just what is meant by the physical nature of information. This can be understood from three main perspectives: the relation between information and physical entropy; the strongly informational nature of the quantum view of nature; and the possibility of recasting physical laws in informational terms. Based on this analysis, we muse on the relevance of such issues to LIS, with particular reference to emergent properties of information.
    Notes:
    Published in an open-accesss journal
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
    License:
    Attribution-ShareAlike

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