Information ecology

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In the context of an evolving information society, the term information ecology marks a connection between ecological ideas with the dynamics and properties of the increasingly dense, complex and important digital informational environment and has been gaining acceptance in a growing number of disciplines. "Information ecology" often is used as metaphor, viewing the informational space as an ecosystem.

"Information ecology is a science which studies the laws governing the influence of information summary on the formation and functioning of biosystems, including that of individuals, human communities and humanity in general and on the health and psychological, physical and social well-being of the human being; and which undertakes to develop methodologies to improve the information environment" - (Alexei Eryomin1998).[1]

Proposed by Alexei Eryomin the concept of information ecology which is essential, is widely applied and broadly construed.[2] In further, when conducting its own studies, the contribution of Eryomin in the development of the scientific direction "information ecology", refer to his early base article - scientists USA,[3][4] China[5][6][7] Finland,[8] France,[9] Poland,[10][11] Canada,[12] et al.

Information ecology also makes a connection to the concept of collective intelligence and knowledge ecology (Pór 2000). Eddy et. al. (2014) use information ecology for science-policy integration in ecosystems-based management (EBM).

Language of ecology[edit]

Information ecology draws on the language of ecology - habitat, species, evolution, ecosystem, niche, growth, equilibrium, etc. - to describe and analyze information systems from a perspective that considers the distribution and abundance of organisms, their relationships with each other, and how they influence and are influenced by their environment. The virtual lack of boundaries between information systems and the impact of information technology on economic, social and environmental activities frequently calls on an information ecologist to consider local information ecosystems in the context of larger systems, and of the evolution of global information ecosystems. See also list of ecology topics.

Networked information economy[edit]

In The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, a book published in 2006 and available under a Creative Commons license on its own wikispace,[13] Yochai Benkler provides an analytic framework for the emergence of the networked information economy that draws deeply on the language and perspectives of information ecology together with observations and analyses of high-visibility examples of successful peer production processes, citing Wikipedia as a prime example.

Bonnie Nardi and Vicki O'Day in their book "Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart," (Nardi & O’Day 1999) apply the ecology metaphor to local environments, such as libraries and schools, in preference to the more common metaphors for technology as tool, text, or system.

In different domains / disciplines[edit]


Nardi and O’Day’s book represents the first specific treatment of information ecology by anthropologists. H.E. Kuchka[14] situates information within socially-distributed cognition of cultural systems. Casagrande and Peters[15] use information ecology for an anthropological critique of Southwest US water policy. Stepp (1999)[16] published a prospectus for the anthropological study of information ecology.

Knowledge management[edit]

Information ecology was used as book title by Thomas H. Davenport and Laurence Prusak (Davenport & Prusak 1997), with a focus on the organization dimensions of information ecology. There was also an academic research project at DSTC called Information ecology, concerned with distributed information systems and online communities.


Law schools represent another area where the phrase is gaining increasing acceptance, e.g. NYU Law School Conference Towards a Free Information Ecology[17] and a lecture series on Information ecology at Duke University Law School's Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

Library science[edit]

The field of library science has seen significant adoption of the term and librarians have been described by Nardi and O'Day as a "keystone species in information ecology",[18][19] and references to information ecology range as far afield as the Collaborative Digital Reference Service of the Library of Congress,[20] to children's library database administrator in Russia.


There has also been increasing use of "information ecology" as a concept among ecologists involved in digital mapping of botanical resources, including research by Zhang Xinshi at the Institute of Botany of the China Academy of Science; also see a presentation to the Information Ecology SIG at Yale University's Forestry School.[21]

Human Ecology[edit]

From the analysis of specific examples of the nature and physiology are determined 10 axioms and laws of information ecology, which serves as the basis for creating information strategies and tactics in social, economic, political and other spheres that affect human health and human communities.[22]

Science-Policy Integration (SPI) / Ecosystems-Based Management (EBM)[edit]

Eddy et. al. (2014) use principles of information ecology to develop a framework for integrating scientific information in decision-making in ecosystem-based management (EBM). Using a metaphor of how a species adapts to environmental changes through information processing, they developed a 3-tiered model that differentiates primary, secondary and tertiary levels of information processing, within both the technical and human domains.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Eryomin, Alexei (1998) Information ecology - a viewpoint// International Journal of Environmental Studies, Vol. 54, p. 251.
  2. ^ D Zhu, H Wang, E Chang Information ecological imbalance and information intervention policies in digital ecosystems // 3rd IEEE International Conference on Digital Ecosystems and Technologies. 2009. - P. 487-492.
  3. ^ Norris T., Suomela T. Information in the ecosystem: Against the “information ecosystem” // First Monday, Volume 22, Number 9 - 4 September 2017
  4. ^ Pulsifer P.L., Kontar Y., Berkman P.A., Taylor D.R.F. (2020) Information Ecology to Map the Arctic Information Ecosystem. In: Young O., Berkman P., Vylegzhanin A. (eds) Governing Arctic Seas: Regional Lessons from the Bering Strait and Barents Sea. Informed Decisionmaking for Sustainability. Springer, Cham
  5. ^ Huang Lucheng Regional system of innovative technologies: reflections on ecology // Science Researches. 2003. - No. 2. S. 215-219
  6. ^ Xiao Feng Information ecology: philosophical aspect // Academic Journal of Hebei. 2005. - No. 1. S. 49-54.
  7. ^ Shinmin Wang Zhang, Hong-Yan Building human-oriented information ecosystems. Information Theory and Practice. 2007. No. 4, pp. 531-533.
  8. ^ Melkas, Helinä Informational ecology and care workers: Safety alarm systems in Finnish elderly-care organizations // Work, 2010, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 87-97.
  9. ^ Chen Y-T., Sun E.W., Lin Y-B. Merging anomalous data usage in wireless mobile telecommunications: Business analytics with a strategy-focused data-driven approach for sustainability // European Journal of Operational Research Vol. 281, Issue 3, 2020, pp. 687-705
  10. ^ Babik W. Ekologia informacji – wyzwanie XXI wieku // Praktyka i Teoria Informacji Naukowej i Technicznej. 2002, nr 1.
  11. ^ Skibicka K. Koncepcja ekologii informacji Aleksieja L. Eryomina // Debiuty Bibliologiczno-Informatologiczne 2016, vol. 4, pp. 27-39.
  12. ^ Eddy, B. G., B. Hearn, J. E. Luther, M. Van Zyll de Jong, W. Bowers, R. Parsons, D. Piercey, G. Strickland, and B. Wheeler. 2014. An information ecology approach to science–policy integration in adaptive management of social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society 19(3): 40.
  13. ^ Benkler, Yochai. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. available under a Creative Commons.
  14. ^ "Information Ecology".
  15. ^ Casagrande, D.G., & C. Peters. 2013. Ecomyopia meets the longue durée: An information ecology of the increasingly arid Southwestern United States. Pp. 97-144 in H. Kopnina & E. Shoreman (Eds.), Environmental Anthropology: Future Directions. New York: Routledge.
  16. ^ "Data" (PDF).
  17. ^ Conference A Free Information Ecology in the Digital Environment Archived 2009-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, New York University School of Law, March 31, 2000 to Sunday, April 2, 2000
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-03-07. Retrieved 2017-12-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ Archived from the original on May 2, 2004. Retrieved April 2, 2004. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-03-07. Retrieved 2017-12-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ [1][dead link]
  22. ^ Alexei Eryomin (1 February 2000). "Eryomin A.L. Nature and Physiology of the Informational Human Ecology // Ecology of Human – 2000. - №2. - P.55-60. Еремин А.Л. Природа и физиология информационной экологии человека // Экология человека. – 2000. - №2. - С.55-60". ResearchGate.