Service Area Information Services & Knowledge Management

Service Area Information Services & Knowledge Management


The word "Kybernetica" is derived from the Greek work "Kybernetes", which itself is the root for "Cybernetics" - the study of systems.

"Kybenetes" itself translates as "pilot" or "guide". The implications are evocative: piloting a route (and, for someone whose father was both a sea captain and qualified marine pilot, that means using knowledge to overcome a set of obstacles fraught with danger - perhaps we could say, therefore: "finding your way through a complex system").

This accord with my intellectual and practical background:

Study of systems

A love ignited at university by studying Social Anthropology and Philosophy courses, which I then applied to Drama in my (unfortunately, incomplete) post-graduate work.

Information and learning

I'm thinking here how tricky this is, and often fraught with unplanned consequences. To present information with a view to fostering learning is not just about "how to express yourself" or "writing clearly", but involves using and applying theories of communication and rhetoric (i.e. the theory of persuasion, not empty political discourse); or, in other words, how people find information, process it, and transform it into action in the real world.

Think "affect: effect".


So, we are back to the "kybernetes", the pilot. In a digital world, to foster leaning, to establish "incipient action" (Kenneth Burke), is all about navigation; or, to put it another way, it's about "finding your way around" (at least, you must conquer this before you can do anything else, either as a senior manager or entry level worker).

Information design

So, you don't just "express yourself", or write beautifully-crafted documents, or dump those information artefacts onto an intranet. In practical terms, information design means things like: how to get inside the heads of your users, how to write instructions, how to categorise data into a taxonomy, what words or visual notation you use, how to produce effective hypertext links - in other words, how to create a usable information system that forms the foundation of "action in the real world".

That is kybernetica.

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