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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 8 months ago

What is Informatics?

Defining “informatics” proves challenging. In general, informatics definitions are broad and do not incur specific meaning until applied by particular informatics communities. These broad definitions can complicate how the value of informatics is promoted to the “outside” world. This wiki aims to promote self-definition through community discussion. By promoting a user-centered perspective and participatory design and maintenance, we open the conversation for the community to begin defining itself in a format that can grow and change. Let's get the conversation started with some formal informatics defintions. Do you agree with these? Do they continue to apply to what we study and do in our related fields?

Formal Definitions

  • Informatics is the science of information. It studies the representation, processing, and communication of information in natural and artificial systems. Since computers, individuals and organizations all process information, informatics has computational, cognitive and social aspects. Michael Fourman, 2002, Informatics Research Report





  • The term informatics was first coined by Dreyfus in March 1962 to refer to "the application of computers to store and process information" (Forman, 2002). Dreyfus coined the French term informatique along with its translations -- informatics (English), informatik (German), and informatica (Italian/Spanish) (Forman, 2002).


  • Informatics = information + -ics using the accepted form for the names of sciences and practices such as optics, economics, politics, etc.


  • Informatics phonologically combines 'information' and 'automatic' which "strengthen's its semantic appeal" (Forman, 2002).

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