Informatization or informatisation refers to the extent by which a geographical area, an economy or a society is becoming information-based, i.e., increase in size of its information labor force. Usage of the term was inspired by Marc Porat’s categories of ages of human civilization: the Agricultural Age, the Industrial Age and the Information Age (1978). Informatization to the Information Age is what industrialization was to the Industrial Age. It has been stated that:
- The Agricultural Age has brought about the agriculturization of the planet. The Industrial Age has caused among other things the industrialization of agriculture. The Information Age has resulted to the informatization of the agricultural industry (Flor, 1993).
The term has mostly been used within the context of national development. Everett Rogers (2000) defines informatization as the process through which new communication technologies are used as a means for furthering development as a nation becomes more and more aninformation society. However, some observers, such as Alexander Flor (1986) have cautioned about the negative impact of informatization on traditional societies.
Recently, the technological determinism dimension has been highlighted in informatization. Randy Kluver of Texas A&M University defines informatization as the process primarily by which information technologies, such as the World Wide Web and other communication technologies, have transformed economic and social relations to such an extent that cultural and economic barriers are minimized. Kluver expands the concept to encompass the civic and cultural arenas. He believes that it is a process whereby information and communication technologies shape cultural and civic discourse.
G. Wang describes the same phenomenon (1994) which she calls "informatization" as a "process" of change that features (a) the use of informatization and IT (information technologies) to such an extent that they become the dominant forces in commanding economic, political, social and cultural development; and (b) unprecedented growth in the speed, quantity, and popularity of information production and distribution."