Definitions and scope

Information exchanges: Many activities of the human mind result in some inscription or encoding of an intermediate product, which can then be processed, transmitted, displayed, perceived by other humans thanks to technical mediations. Information exchanges processes go from the human intention of creating these intermediate products to convey some information, knowledge, thought, beauty or pleasure to the human activities of using them. These intermediate products can be analogue (such as letters and analogue coding of sound signals in telephone conversation) or digital (such as encoded text in email messages, HTML Web pages or digital broadcasting). Sometimes information is directly produced by humans (e.g. when someone writes a paper); sometimes humans set up an automatic process to produce it, for instance the collection of meteorological data. There is no strict border between information and non-information physical goods, but it is hoped that common sense can sort out where to draw the limit in specific instances. When discussing how people use their time, it may be worth to include also many direct exchanges (such as face-to-face conversation), since important activities are conducted using a combination of mediated and direct exchanges. By focusing on human activities of producing, processing, distributing, accessing and using information, it is intended to avoid entering into philosophical debates on the limits between data and information or about why something acquires the quality of being « information ». In contrast, issues such as information quality and the quality of the relation users have to information appear to be more interesting description layers. 

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