Information Artifact

What is an information artifact?

An early start at a definition, or at least a narrowing of scope: An information artifact originates with a sentient - either by a person thinking/ communicating, or by a machine that was designed to have a function to produce/communicate information.

From Features_associated_with_information we find some that Alan thinks are central to what would be considered information artifacts: 2,5,7

Barry Smith comments

Interestingly, most types of Shannon-Weaver information, and bird songs, do not count as information artifacts because they fall short already on 5. and 6.

When we say that primates do not have command of language we are addressing something like their inability to master anything like a language satisfying 6.

How is it with DNA? Is there anything like mastery, or freedom to create new strings by composition, in the world of DNA (I mean in the world of DNA as it is before human beings start to create DNA artifacts)?

Photographs lack 6. I think the same goes for pixellated images.

Absolute music and dance lack 7.

Barry's Proposal

Information artifacts have to be bearers of information in the sense which involves satisfaction of at least criteria 1-7. To be information artifacts in our sense, databases have to be ABOUT something (a string of random numbers is not an information artifact)

Alan's comments

The following are information artifacts in this sense:

  • serial number
  • batch number
  • grant number
  • person number
  • name
  • address
  • email address
  • URI
  • protocol
  • lab note
  • ontology
  • gene list
  • publication
  • result
  • license
  • document granting permission
  • contract
  • novel
  • textbook
  • newspaper
  • timetable
  • recipe
  • map
  • objective specification