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Call for papers for the international conference “What is Information?


The conference is held at the University of Oregon Portland on the 4th and 5th April 2020. Deadline is set for 20th December 2019.


What is Information? (2020) will investigate conceptualizations and implementations of information via material, representational, and hybrid frames. The conference-experience will consider information and its transformational æffects—from documents to data; from facts and fictions to pattern recognition; from physical information to differential equations; and from volatility, uncertainty, and ambiguity to collective intelligence and wisdom.

The tenth annual What is…? examinestapestries, temperaments, and topologies of information lenses and practices—including—social and technical, mathematical and semantic, physical and biological, economic and political, cultural and environmental information. Scholars, government and community officials, industry professionals, scientists, artists, students, filmmakers, grassroots community organizations, and the public are invited to collaborate. We welcome submissions for papers, panels, roundtables and installations.

Presentations / panels / installations may include the following topics:
• What is information? Are data and information synonymous? Is information material/concrete, symbolic/abstract, or both?
• What distinguishes information from knowledge and wisdom?
• Is information freedom? What is meta-data? What are information systems, flows, and gaps?
• What approaches or lenses are used to study information? How do they relate to emerging disciplines?
• What are information science and information art? What are relationships between STE(A)M and ICT?
• How are the natural sciences and information sciences continuing to converge (e.g. bioinformatics)?
• Is information at the core of music, architecture, design, craft, and/or science and technology studies?
• Is biology itself information or only a representation? What are data science, machine learning and visualization? How are informatics enhancing medicine and the environment via regenerative systems? • What is the philosophy of information? What are information literacy, ethics, education, & aesthetics?
• What are networks? What are relationships between information, technology/media, and message?
• What are information ecologies, information environments, and how do/can they facilitate public good?
• What is political economy of information? How do information & socio-cultural factors æffect each other?
• What are current approaches to the study of information professions, audiences, and psychology?
• How does information highlight gender, race, indigenous, and/or global environmental concerns?
• How can contemplation, empathy, kindness, and/or responsibility be studied via information?
• What are patterns of digital divides? What comes after post-truth (e.g. cyber-physical)?
• What are data-mining and threat detection or privacy in the cyber-defense/cyber-security age?
• Can apps, games, and immersive media help us to adapt to the ever-changing information landscape?
• What laws/regulations/policies are appropriate for information?
• How are information & value(s) related?

Conference Organizers: Janet Wasko and Jeremy Swartz (University of Oregon)


Deadline for submissions: 20th December, 2019.

Send 150-word abstracts for papers, panels, installations, and exhibits by December 20th, 2019, to: Janet Wasko •



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