Information science is the study of accurately gathering, storing, and sharing information. In modern times, the computer is central to information science. The processes of information science all rely on information science technology, including electronic spreadsheets, databases, and the Internet. Each of these technologies has improved the effectiveness of information, making a powerful impact on the world, especially at the beginning of the 21st century, also known as the Information Age.
Electronic spreadsheets have changed how information is gathered. Slower forms of record keeping need a person to do calculations by hand and to physically change records one at a time. Electronic spreadsheets allow records to be entered, automatically corrected, and calculations to be done and with a computer. The benefits of using electronic spreadsheets make them the fundamental technology that made the information age possible. Information science technology of all other types gathers information via electronic spreadsheets.
Database management that uses an electronic database allows flexible information storage. Information science technology changed the slower system of manually indexing all records and having a user find the information by sorting through references. Database management is often done electronically. This allows a computer to do complicated sorting, called searches or queries, and automatically retrieve a list of information held in the database for a user. Manual information storage may take years to produce and copy, but electronic databases can quickly and automatically do the same task.
Information science is most useful when the information can be shared. The technology for sharing information changed little for hundreds of years when books and other forms of writing were the only medium available. This changed with the introduction of radio and television in the 20th century. More recently, the Internet has allowed forms of information science technology to merge, forming an ultimate information sharing environment. The Internet provides a user-friendly information-sharing environment.
In the past the process of information gathering, storage, and sharing was slow. Much information would never reach an adequate audience, and important information in history has been lost because of poor information science technology. Since the beginning of the 21th century, information science has exploded with new technology available for nearly anyone on Earth. Nowadays, most information follows the same accelerated path: from being entered into an electronic spreadsheet and stored in an electronic database to being shared on the Internet. These advancements have made the information age possible and powerful.