SIGIA-L Mail Archives: [Sigia-l] Wisdom and best practices
[Sigia-l] Wisdom and best practices
Conal Tuohy wrote:
"I think this is part of why the discussion has been so fruitless.
What's the point of having the two concepts [data and information] and
making a distinction (or not making a distinction) between them? Why
Well, the reason I usually draw a distinction between data and
information is that it takes different tasks to make them usable.
I tend to view the data world as the domain of the IT folks, and I would
define their job as turning data into information (i.e. putting binary
data into some context recognizable by the audience, such as a report on
total sales or average annual rainfall.) This is all that Google does.
Then there's another group of folks, writers, graphic designers,
instructional designers, user experience designers, usability experts,
and other information designers who do a different job. I see their role
as turning information into knowledge. I would define knowledge loosely
as "usable information".
(I notice some information architects have one foot on either side of
this admittedly blurry line, but a lot seem to have both feet on one
side or the other.)
There's only one thing that can turn knowledge into wisdom, and that's
experience, often of the painful sort. This is one reason wisdom is
almost impossible to train for.
Here's another example of the difference between data, information,
knowledge and wisdom:
Data: Gym, exercise, block, address of the gym, your address, etc.
Information: There's a gym on my block.
Knowledge: "I know going to the gym is good for me."
Wisdom: "I know going to the gym is good for me, and that's why I work
out there four days a week."
"The wise see knowledge and action as one" - Bhagavad Gita, circa 3000
Why is wisdom important? Because it's where we get best practices from.
Best practices can be extremely valuable to know, but they can only be
drawn out from highly experienced, wise practitioners, people who do
this all the time and care to get things right. These are sometimes
referred to as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).
Of course "Best Practices" are rarely the last word on the subject -
what is? But if properly identified (i.e. based on the wisdom of genuine
SMEs) they can be the most valuable starting point.
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: Tue Jul 05 2005 - 02:04:55 EDT