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Interdisciplinary Glossary of Concepts, Metaphors, Theories and Problems concerning Information

The glossariumBITri is conceived as a tool for the conceptual and theoretical clarification in the study of information. With the purpose of embracing the most relevant viewpoints concerning information, its development is inherently interdisciplinary, relying on a board of experts coming from a wide variety of knowledge fields. However, the undertaking is not like an enlightenment from a kind of ivory tower where a group of clear-sighted experts shed the truths they know well. This is not the case in the complex field of information studies, indeed the real situation is that some experts sit on the top of a hill where a part of the informational landscape can be well reached but other parts are not. At the same time, different experts stand on other hills where the outlook and blind angles are different. Moreover, there are people in the valleys who distinguish problems with sheer clarity that are not discernible from the heights. Our purpose is bringing these sights together, letting the experts discuss what they see from their privileged positions with the ambition to reconstruct a more general view and a better understanding of each other’s approach to the problems they are dealing with.

Theoretical and meta-theoretical objectives

From a theoretical viewpoint our endeavour aims at shortening the distances among the different viewpoints and increasing the linkages; while from a meta-theoretical view we wish to assess this accomplishment. By doing this we aim at qualifying interdisciplinarity itself. To this purpose we will measure the diversity and intensity of the integrated knowledge looking at the structural properties of the network of concepts and the networks of experts. By contributing to this double purpose (the theoretical elucidation and the qualification of knowledge integration) the glossariumBITri represents a first realisation of the interdisciplinary-glossaries proposed in the framework of the PRIMER initiative which is devoted to the "PRomotion of Interdisciplinary Methodologies in Education and Research" through the setting up of education and research programmes applied to different knowledge fields.

Conceptual Network Perspective

Co-occurrence Network of glossariumBITri 2nd Edition
The adjacent illustration shows the network of concepts of the glossariumBITri in the state of development corresponding to the publication of the 2nd book edition in 2016. What is here shown is the co-occurrence network, in which the nodes are sized in relation to the frequency of appearance and the link thickness is proportional to the frequency of co-occurrence in the text weighted by the propositional closeness (which is maximal when the co-occurring terms are in the same sentence). In the illustration only those terms with a frequency higher than 50 and the 200 most frequent links are visible. If we compare this network with the one corresponding to the previous edition we would notice that the red cluster of concepts corresponding to complexity and algorithmic information theory was an important absence in such edition. This is indeed a relevant incorporation from a theoretical viewpoint, but meta-theoretically the network analysis enable us to observe that we can observe that we need to intensify the linkage among this cluster concepts and the rest of the network. On the other hand, we perceive that concepts as communication or message are very well connected with the rest of the network. While the diversity of the network of disciplines involved let us evaluate the diversity of the interdisciplinarity richness, the measurement of average distances in the conceptual network allow us to assess the intensity of the knowledge integration.