Informatics studies the structure, algorithms, behavior, and interactions of natural and artificial systems that store, process, access, and communicate information. It considers the interaction between humans and information systems alongside the construction of computer interfaces, develops its own conceptual and theoretical foundations, and, utilizes foundations developed in other fields. As such, the field of informatics has great breadth and encompasses many individual specializations, including the more particular discipline of computing science. Since the advent of computers, individuals and organizations increasingly process information digitally. This has led to the study of informatics with computational, mathematical, biological, cognitive, and social aspects, including studying of the social impact of information technologies.
The three elements of Social Systems Informatics are embodied in its name.
- Social refers to an emphasis on interactions with others, as opposed to individual-level behavior, within their physical, social, and virtual environments.
- Systems refers to distinct but interacting components of a social structure that are working together (or not).
- Informatics refers to the science of gathering, storing, and processing of data. There are opportunities to collect vast amounts of data pertaining to social interactions within and across systems—such as internet communications or video and audio images. At present, the field of Social Systems Informatics has limited computational methods that can be applied to study these interactions.