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Information Systems

Last updated February 26, 2022

Source: Foundations of Information by Amy J. Ko

Information Systems are processes that organize people, technology, and data to allow people to create, store, manipulate, distribute, and access information.

The Great Library of Alexandria is one of the largest information systems in modern history. It was built in Alexandria, Egypt, and part of a larger research institution called the Mouseion. The idea behind the library was to be a universal collection of knowledge.

Many influential philosophers worked at the library in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC, including Euclid (founder of geometry), Homer (author of epic Greek poems), Plato (founder of the first Western university), and Socrates (founder of Western moral philosophy).

Why build the ARPANET (precursor to the Internet)?

  1. Explore the area of computer networking research (how to share computing resources)
  2. Sharing resources for research communites (e.g. datasets)
  3. Scaling past the speed of the phoneline (2.4kb/s)
  4. Utility for command and control of various military sites (military-industrial complex)

# Qualities of information systems

  1. Accuracy: how accurate and truthful is data in the system?
  2. Reliability: how many dependencies does it need? How often do those fail?
  3. Learnability: how many skills do you need to acquire to use it?

Choosing the best system for a particular task then isn’t just about choosing the latest technology, but carefully understanding the task at hand, and what types of systems might best support


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