Information Science Is Neither


Information science is not a science, nor is it primarily about information. In this paper, an argument is developed in support of the latter claim. A working definition of information is proposed, and doubts are raised about the extent to which each of five core subfields of information science/studies (information behavior, information retrieval, infometrics, information organization, and information ethics) has to do with information as defined. Several alternative candidates for the primary phenomenon of interest shared by those working in all five subfields are considered: these include data studies; knowledge studies; metadata studies; representation studies; relevance studies; and (as a branch of cultural studies) collection, preservation, and access studies. A prime candidate is identified, and some implications of such a reading for the application of philosophical approaches to information science/studies are highlighted.