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Title: IMS5024 Lecture 2


1
IMS5024 Lecture 2
  • Philosophical aspects of modelling information

2
Contents
  • Individual Assignment
  • Pitfalls
  • What is information?
  • Next weeks reading!

3
Individual Assignment
  • Write a 2000 2500 word report on
  • What way did the development of applications for
    the Internet change modelling?
  • The report should include
  • Theory about modelling and methodologies)
  • How does it relate to the idea that information
    systems development is social or technical?
  • What are the problems?

4
Basic starting point for the individual assignment
  • Avison, DE Fitzgerald, G. (1995). Information
    Systems development Methodologies, Techniques
    and tools. Second edition. McGraw Hill UK.
  • Blum, B.I. (1994) A Taxonomy of software
    Development Methods. Communications of the ACM,
    Vol 37, No 11, pp. 82-94.
  • Rossi, M., Siau, K. (2001). Information modeling
    in the new millenium, Idea Group Publishing, USA.
  • Lecture 2 reading list (Mathiassen et al. and
    Hirschheim et al.)
  • Andrew Dixon from the library
  • Proquest

5
Teaching assistant
  • Bahar Jamshidi
  • E-mail Bahar.Jamshidi_at_infotech.monash.edu.au
  • Available for tute session Thursday 6 7 PM in
    B143

6
Pitfalls
  • Plagiarism !!!!!
  • Not starting early
  • Role of synopsis

7
The nature of information?
  • What is information?
  • Commonly described as data that is transformed
    into information by data processing
  • What is data?
  • Data are interpreted raw statements of fact
  • Data are the result of measurement or
    observation
  • A general term denoting all facts, numbers,
    letters and symbols that refer to or describe an
    object, idea, condition, situation or other
    factors
  • Information production process?

8
The nature of information
  • Correct???

Data
Transformation process
Source
Recipient
Information
9
The hermeneutic circle Arriving at understanding
Text
Context
10
The nature of information
Recipient
Source
Information
Context
Application
Background Knowledge
11
SOOO??
  • The transformation process does not create
    information
  • Information is created as the recipient
    appropriates the data and gives it meaning by
    understanding the data in a particular context
    leading to insight and even to judgement and
    knowledge
  • To produce information we have to interpret what
    we experience and make explicit what we know
  • Information cannot exist independently from its
    producer or consumer data can

12
Does this help us with answering the following?
  • Why do we need information?
  • Do information systems really provide information
    to managers or users?
  • Can information be managed?
  • How does this view affect the way in which
    systems are modelled?

13
Making knowledge explicit
  • When we design an information system, we require
    knowledge about a human practice which the system
    should replace
  • This knowledge we need to make explicit in order
    to feed into rational rules and algorithms
  • Can all knowledge be made explicit?
  • Much of what we know is tacit and intuitive
  • Therefore we are faced with a dilemma we can
    only formalise that which we can make explicit
  • Information is therefore not a mechanistic concept

14
Mechanistic worldview
  • Based on rational, objective thinking
  • Very prevalent in modern (Western) society
  • Assumes world is orderly and unchanging
  • Leads to utopian thinking about technology

15
Romantic worldview
  • Reaction to extreme rationalism
  • Reaction to technological determinism
  • Technology seen as threat to culture
  • Technology associated with a calculative and
    analytical style of thinking
  • Technology seen as autonomous and no longer under
    human control

16
Contrasting the two world views
  • Mechanistic worldview
  • Rational thinking about the world
  • Formal representation
  • Technology can be used to change society
  • Knowledge is power
  • Romantic worldview
  • World should be interpreted rather than
    understood
  • Researchers of social systems cannot be
    completely objective
  • World is chaotic
  • Technology should be resisted

17
A dialectic synthesis
  • We live in a world of mechanistic rules and
    romantic ideals
  • Scientific understanding and romantic
    interpretation
  • We need both concepts and have to reconcile them
  • Implementation of information systems means
    applying rational machines in chaotic
    environments
  • We have to formalise in order to make computers
    work
  • We cannot formalise everything
  • Challenge is to find appropriate degree of
    formalisation

18
Why do we develop information systems?
  • Information the lifeblood of the organisation
  • Use of computers for processing information
  • Competitive edge
  • Ect..

19
ISD
  • Comments

Objectives
Development group
Object system
Object system
Change process
Environment
Hirschheim et al see reading list
20
History of ISD methodologies
Generation Principle management and organisational issues
Formal life-cycle approaches Control of SDLC guidance through standardization
Structured approaches Productivity, better maintainable systems, control over analyst/programmer
Prototyping and evolutionary approaches Speed and Flexibility, overcome communication gap, right kind of system instead of getting system right
21
History of ISD methodologies(2)
Generation Principle management and organisational issues
Socio-technical, participatory approaches Control of ISD by users through participation conflict management joint optimisation
Sense-making and problem formulation approaches Multiple perspectives in problem framing software development as social reality construction
22
History of ISD methodologies(3)
Generation Principle management and organisational issues
Trade-Union led approaches Labour/ management conflict workers rights industrial democracy
Emancipator approaches Improve communication furthering emancipatory effects of ISD
23
Summary
  • We live in a social world
  • Information systems are socially constructed
  • Need to develop a system mechanistic
  • Dilemma Dialectics
  • What have we seen up until now

24
Reality of ISD
Conceptual models
Application domain
Formal Models
Implementation domain
Blum, I., 1994. A taxonomy of Software
development Methods. Communications of the ACM,
Vol37, No11
25
Classification of methods
Blum, I., 1994. A taxonomy of Software
development Methods. Communications of the ACM,
Vol37, No11
Problem oriented Product oriented
Concep-tual Structured analysis Entity relationship modelling Logical construction of systems Modern structured analysis Object oriented analysis Structured design Object oriented design
Formal PSL/PSA JSD VDM Levels of abstraction Stepwise refinement Proof of correctness Data abstraction JSP Object oriented programming
26
Reading for next week
  • Hoffer, J.A George, J.F Valacich, J.S. (1999).
    Modern Systems analysis and design. Second
    Edition. Addison Wesley, USA. Chapter 8 and 9.
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