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The noetic prism: a new perspective on the information, data, knowledge complex

Pigott, D. and Hobbs, V.J. (2001) The noetic prism: a new perspective on the information, data, knowledge complex. In: 4th Western Australian Workshop on Information Systems Research (WAWISR 2001), 26 November, Perth

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Successful knowledge management has as prerequisite an understanding of what actually constitutes ‘knowledge’. Yet the definitions of knowledge in the literature, and its relationships with ‘data’ and ‘information’, are varied, inconsistent and often contradictory. In particular the traditional hierarchy of datainformation-knowledge and its various revisions do not stand up to close scrutiny. We suggest that the problem lies in a flawed analysis that sees data, information and knowledge as separable concepts that are transformed into one another through business processing. We propose the term ‘noetica’ to describe the collective intellectual resources of an organisation, together with a revised analysis of the process of adding value to noetica that identifies it as change occurring simultaneously along three different dimensions: increase in aggregation; increase in shape, and increase in contextualisation. A new model is presented in which the three dimensions of complexity – granularity, shape and scope – are seen as the three vertices of a triangular prism, and suggest that all value-adding through business processing can be seen as movement within this space. We map these definitions back to the concepts of information, data and knowledge, and show how the ‘noetic prism’ can be used as a management tool for analysing the state of the noetic resources of an organisation, and for elucidating and suggesting solutions to several of the current problems in information/data/knowledge management.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Information Technology
Copyright: (c) The Authors
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