The word information is so commonplace that most of us have never considered its roots, and what it was intended to mean.
World famous chef David Brown has a fascination with words, and he especially likes those words whose usage does not match their intended meaning. He gave me an enlightening new perspective on information.
If you break the word information into two parts, you get “in formation.” This term implies organized arrangement. Geese fly “in formation,” The Blue Angels fly “in formation,” a convoy travels “in formation,” armies march “in formation,” football teams face off “in formation,” etc.
The term Information Age is commonly used to describe something very different than “in formation.” In fact, the majority of data today in our Age is mostly “out of formation.” If data on the Internet were truly “in formation,” search engines such as Google and Yahoo wouldn’t exist because they wouldn’t be needed.
Thinking about this “in or out of formation” concept gave me an exciting new perspective on the Family Forest® Project. This digital indexing tour guide service has now become one of the most “in formation” data projects ever.
It is so “in formation” that software can data-mine this precisely and strategically arranged system of digital links to produce literally tens of billions of pages of ancestral history charts, reports, and eBooks, many of which have never existed before.
It will probably be at least decades before software can produce similar results by data-mining the “out of formation” data that is now scattered all over the Internet in disconnected bits and pieces as stage-one and stage-two digital content.