Information Sciences FAQs

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Are you thinking about pursuing a degree in Information Sciences? If you are finding the field vast, with many different paths to choose from, you may be starting out with an interest, but also a few questions. First off, it is always a good idea to request information from your prospective undergraduate or graduate school to check out whether their curriculum matches your career goals. That being clarified, here are a few frequently asked questions that might help you in your search for an Information Science Degree Program that takes into consideration your existing talents, as well as helps you clarify the area you might benefit from studying the most.

What is Information Science?
As you might guess, Information Science is the study of information and how people within different organizations and industries use it.

Is Information Science the same as Library Science?
Not quite. Sometimes information theory is taught in combination with Library Science (as Information and Library Science). Library Science is related to the dissemination of information through libraries, and uses the principles of Information Sciences. 

What are the principles of Information Sciences?
Information science deals with all the processes and methods pertaining to the information life cycle. This means, information or data is captured, generated, packaged, transmitted, transformed, used, stored, communicated, protected and protected in a variety of ways. Think cell phones, apps, networks, databases etc.

Is Information Science the same as Computer Science?
Computer Science is related to Information Science. Information Science is like a crossroads. It intersects technology, people, and organizations. If you plan to earn a degree in Information Science your choice of program might include: Computational modeling, databases, information systems, informatics, information assurance and security, information systems, social networking software engineering. 

What is Informatics?
Especially computer scientists use sometimes ‘informatics’ as a synonym for Information Sciences.

Are Information Sciences a new development?
Well, technology is constantly evolving, but reports show that scholars have carried out information analysis at least as early as the 19th century.

Where does Information Technology fit in?
Great question. Information Technology, or “IT” is the use of computers (storage, networks, devices, infrastructure and processes) to create, process, store, keep secure, and exchange all varieties of electronic data. 

What is the difference between Information Technology and Computer Science?
Essentially, IT specialists are technology implementers and practitioners. They are the folks who use computer systems, software, and networks to process and distribute data/information. Computer Science professionals are the technology designers and developers. These are the folks who study the design and purpose of computers, and understand the mechanics of computation, can master algorithms, write code and innovate both hardware and software. 

Are Information Systems and Information Technology the same?
Well, no. Information systems (IS) and information technology (IT) are often considered synonymous, but information technology is a subset of information systems. Information Technology is defined more along the lines as the study, design, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems.

What is an Information System?
Think of Information Systems as an umbrella term. It spans the systems, the people, and the processes that are designed to create, store, transform, and transmit information. It bridges business with computer science, but not all information systems require computers. What? Right, a bit old-fashioned, but the good old pen and paper are considered an IS too; the term actually pre-dates computers.

What is a GIS?
 A Geographic Information System is another IS, that focuses on spatial data and mapping. Your GPS uses it. 

What is Cybersecurity?
A cyber attacker is someone who hacks data or information that is stored online. So whether it is your credit card data, or top-secret government information, it has to be protected – kept secure – from web-based criminals. Information Assurance, or Information Security is becoming more and more important. It consists of things like firewalls, monitoring breaches, disaster recovery planning and creating new security technology.

What is an Information Scientist?
An Information Research Scientist is someone who has a high level of knowledge in computing technology. Professionals in this field apply research in information science to things such as creating or improving computer software and hardware.

What Does Information Science Investigate?
Information sciences involve different areas. For instance:

  • Information access – including informatics, information security, language technology,      computer science, library sciences
  • Information architecture – things such as websites, software and information systems
  • Information management – data maintenance, collecting and delivery
  • Information retrieval – includes metadata, searching for documents, creating databases
  • Information seeking – library and information science, for instance
  • Artificial Intelligence – computer semantics and symbols

What type of person is suited to study Information Science?
Ideally, if you are planning to work in an information science profession you should have:
•    An interest in research 
•    An interest in computer technology
•    Excel in communication and organization
•    Have good technical, problem-solving and analytical skills.

What Does the IT industry do?
Information Technology involves computer systems design and related services for individuals and businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the four sub industries are: custom computer programming services, computer systems design services, computer facilities management services, and other computer related services [i]

Information Sciences involve all of this?

The easy answer is yes, but at the same time, depending on where you are at in your academic or professional life, you are likely to focus on an area such as management, research, design or security. There are a variety of potential career paths in the field, and also, different education choices to support your choice. So keep calm and data on…

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