INFOHIST Conference

The history of Information: from papyrus to the electronic documentFirst Conference on

"The history of Information: from papyrus to the electronic document" [INFOHIST]

Athens, Nomiki Bibliothiki, May 24-25, 2013

Official Website

The INFOHIST interdisciplinary conference (History of Information: from papyrus to digital documents) took place in Athens, in Nomiki Bibliothiki, May 24-25, 2014.
Forty seven Greek scholars presented their works in the conference (designed and chaired by Maria Bottis).
INFOHIST was organized by IHRC, E-themis and Nomiki Bibliothiki.

INFOHIST papers dealt with short dynamic histories of several aspects and forms of information or with static, so-to-say, stories on information in a particular time and place.

The INFOHIST 2013 proceedings, The History of Information-from papyrus to the digital document have been published with Nomiki Bibliothiki and include fifty papers from the conference and beyond. In Greek.
Main editor: Maria Bottis. Co-editor, Andreas Giannakoulopoulos, pp. 1-750.
From Luciano Floridi, The Cambridge Handbook of Computer and Information Ethics

"...Introduction: history as the information age Humanity has organized its history according to many metrics. Some are natural and circular, relying on seasons and planetary motions. Some are social or political and linear, being determined, for example, by the succession of Olympic Games, the number of years since the founding of the city of Rome (ab urbe condita), or the ascension of a king. Still others are religious and have a V-shape, counting years before and after a particular event (e.g. the birth of Christ). There are larger periods that encompass smaller ones, named after influential styles (Baroque), people (Victorian era), particular circumstances (Cold War) or some new technology (Nuclear age). What all these and many other metrics have in common is that they are all historical, in the strict sense that they all depend on the development of systems to record events and hence accumulate and transmit information about the past. It follows that history is actually synonymous with the information age, since prehistory is the age in human development that precedes the availability of recording systems. Hence, one may further argue that humanity has been living in various kinds of information societies at least since the Bronze Age, the era that marks the invention of writing in different regions of the world, and especially in Mesopotamia. Comparing the computer revolution to the printing revolution would be misleading not because they are unrelated, but because they are actually phases of a much wider, macroscopic process that has spanned millennia: the slow emergence of the information society since the fourth millennium BC. And yet, this is not what we normally mean when talking about the information age. Typically, we have in mind something much more limited in scope and closer in time.There may be many explanations, but one seems more convincing than any other: only very recently has human progress and welfare begun to depend mostly on the successful and efficient management of the information life cycle.1 So the long period of time that the information society has taken to surface should not be surprising. Imagine a historian writing in a million years from now. She may consider it normal, and perhaps even elegantly symmetrical, that it took roughly six millennia (from its beginning in the Neolithic, tenth millennium BC, until the Bronze Age) for the agricultural revolution to produce its full effect, and then another six millennia (from the Bronze Age until the end of the second millennium AD) for the information revolution to bear its main fruit. During this span of time, information technologies evolved from being mainly recording systems, to being also communication systems (especially after Gutenberg), to being also processing systems (especially after Turing). As I will explain below, they have begun to play the role of re-ontologizing systems. Thanks to this evolution, nowadays the most advanced economies are highly dependent, for their functioning and growth, upon the pivotal role played by informationbased, intangible assets, information-intensive services (especially business and property services, communications, finance and insurance, and entertainment) as well as information-oriented public sectors (especially education, public administration and health care). For example, all G7 members qualify as information societies because, in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States of America, at least 70% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) depends on intangible goods, which are information based, rather than material goods..."
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