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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ye Olde paper: 1996 "Humans, information and science"

I learned this past week that the abstract of an old paper is available online. Published in 1996 this was pre-website days and information in a nursing context is a subject I've often thought of returning to

journal of advanced nursing coverJournal of Advanced Nursing

Volume 24 Issue 3
1996: Pages 591 - 598.

Published Online:
28 Jun 2008

Humans, information and science


The use of information forms the basis of nursing policies, standards and professional codes of conduct. Although used intuitively, nurses must now also grapple empirically with information needs often defined by others, and with the technology used to capture and process it. Even the briefest contemplation of 'information' reveals a truly pervasive concept. Information is ubiquitous. In order to care effectively in the so-called 'information age' health care professionals need to understand information.

This paper is a small contribution to that effort, attempting to conjoin the disparate fields of health and the information sciences, and the basic sciences upon which they are based. This paper explores how definitions of information formulated in computing and communication theory relate to health and other aspects of human experience. The strategy adopted to achieve this is threefold. First, there is the vexed question of defining data, information and knowledge. Second, I consider how communication — that essential nursing activity — relates to information, meaning and the messages people seek to convey to each other. Thirdly, clinical situations are described in an information-oriented manner, using the concepts of 'redundancy' and 'entropy'. The conclusion provides an historical perspective.

Jones, P. (1996), Humans, information and science. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 24: 591-598. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.1996.23321.x