Talk:Information infrastructure

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I have some ideas for how sections of the article could be organized.In4matt (talk) 16:09, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

These are all good. To me, the term Information Infrastructure is very broad. It could include libraries, or books themselves. Similar to what Innis and Basbane described, and fits with the description by Pironti. Historically it dates back to Mesopotamia. Do you think the description in the head (is this the correct term?) is sufficient? Rankinke (talk) 19:05, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

what about Etymology? The origin of both words? Rankinke (talk) 13:40, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree, the sources referenced refer to the term in a very specific information systems perspective. The article needs to be widen to include other perspective. I think the term is a modern conception, and I think we have to be careful not to apply it to earlier history, because it would be anachronistic. However, it could be described as an analytical perspective for historical interpretation...possibly. In4matt (talk) 23:11, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the term is a modern one, but it relies on two words with their own history. When they are used to form the new phrase their origins and meanings are intact and speak to the trivial description that appears in this article. However, in the interest of time (a deadline seems to be an unusual consideration in Wikipedia)- we do need to research and add content by Oct 25 (according to the assignment sheet)- I'm willing to set aside the discussion of etymology.
I'm also interested in Star's paper and would like to work on that, if you don't mind? Did you have something in mind when you suggested the section? Is it okay to start a new section "Ethnography" and use Star's paper as a resource? Let me know if you have any other comments or suggestions for proceeding.Rankinke (talk) 20:27, 17 October 2011 (UTC)


Possible Contents[edit]

  • Physical Components
  • Theoretical Frameworks
  • S.L. Star's Ethnography of Infrastructure
  • Obstacles or Barriers
  • Design
  • Policy

Etymology[edit]

I think etymology is important because it reminds us that language has a history of its own. By thinking about the origins of words we come to understand that sometimes the words and phrases we use today have been co-opted for specific purposes which thereby dilute their original meaning. This appears to be a common practice in information communications technology.

The term 'information infrastructure' is a modern one and refers to a very specific information systems perspective, it relies on two words that have their own history. When they are used to form this new phrase their origins and meanings remain 'underneath' the new meaning of the term.

Information infrastructure broadly defined is a fundamental urge, the need to organize, categorize, and give order. The urge to differentiate and articulate; to inform. The infrastructure refers to the frameworks used to accomplish this, but does not necessarily imply technology (understood as tools), it also implies invisible technologies or a mind-set.

Pironti's description speaks to the dynamic meaning of these words, "to the as all of the people, processes, procedures, tools, facilities, and technology which supports the creation, use, transport, storage, and destruction of information." His definition is closer to the fundamental urge, rather than a technical description of information systems research.

Consider Heidegger’s essay, the Question Concerning Technology. He suggests that the tools (what we call technology) we use to order our environment are symbolic of an enframing, dualistic mind-set.

In Technological Utopianism in American Culture, Howard Segal also suggests that technology applies to more than just machines and includes structures as well. The difference between machines and structures is that the former are small-scale, reproducible, temporary and mass-produced. The later are large-scale, permanent and location-specific. Machines and structures are interdependent: “structures are built by machines, and machines have structures to hold them together,” (p. 12).

I would add an elaboration to structures, what Neil Postman describes in Technopoly as “invisible technologies.” Although Segal does not say that social institutions, management, etc., could be described as structures, i.e., technology, there is evidence in his book that supports this description. For example, his description of the term ‘system,’ on page 17. Segal describes the first use of the word ‘system’ in the report “American System of Manufacturing." Segal notes, “…this system includes the integration of human activities into ever more complex patterns, many consciously designed by society’s leaders and architects but others reflecting less formal daily choices by ordinary citizens.”

The invisible technologies are structures that standardize and control human activity into a pattern compatible with machines and structures (buildings, etc.). Thus, machines, structures and invisible technologies operate in unison, like the parts of a machine. This brings us back to Heidegger’s theory, that essence of technology is a metaphysical or dualistic mind-set, and not simply the technological objects in the environment.

Thus, understanding the origin of the words “information” and “infrastructure” is important to understanding the term information infrastructure. It shows that, although it was coined in the 1990s for political purposes (invisible technologies) the term trivializes the meaning.

Perhaps etymology is the wrong section, maybe it should be something like the philosophical underpinnings of the term "information infrastructure." Rankinke (talk) 12:41, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Global Information Infrastructure[edit]

I think a section about global information infrastructures is needed. I found some sources by Christine L. Borgmam about this I will use it and other sources to create this section. In4matt (talk) 03:51, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Information Infrastructure and the Global Digital Divide[edit]

Also, I think it would be useful to mention the Global Information Infrastructure and the Global digital divide possibly linking to this article in Wikipedia: global digital divide In4matt (talk) 15:41, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Here is the link to a good source from the FCC perspective. It is biased of course, but could have useful information. Connecting the Globe: A Regulators Guide to Building a Global Information Community In4matt (talk) 15:41, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Moving the Definitions heading[edit]

I think the "Definitions" heading should be moved down in the article, so that it appears in the content box and is separate from the summary Rankinke included.In4matt (talk) 05:12, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

The "Definitions" section also needs proper citations so they appear in the Notes section. Rankinke (talk) 20:09, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Sentence Edits[edit]

I thought we could post suggested edits to sentences others wrote here. We could suggested the edit to each other, and if we agree, the individual who added the sentence could change it.

This seems reasonable. Rankinke (talk) 14:32, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

In the introduction,

What does IS stand for? Information Science or Information Systems?
From the second last sentence, first paragraph, it seems to stand for information systems (no caps), "...later as a more specific concept in Information Systems (IS) research." However, I think avoiding the acronym in this case would probably be best. This way there is no risk of confusion. I would also avoid using (II) for information infrastructure, it looks like the Roman numeral "2." Rankinke (talk) 14:32, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
"The notion of information infrastructures, introduced in the 1990s and refined during the past ten years, has proven quite fruitful to the IS field."

to,

"The notion of information infrastructures, introduced in the 1990s and refined during the past ten years, has been useful for Information Science/Information Systems(IS)."

-or-

"The notion of information infrastructures, introduced in the 1990s and refined during the past ten years, has been useful for information systems research." Rankinke (talk) 14:32, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Next sentence,

"It changed the perspective from organizations to networks and from systems to infrastructures, allowing for a global and emergent perspective on information systems. "

to,

"In IS, it changed the focus from organizations and systems to networks and infrastructures, allowing for a global and emergent perspective of information systems."
I don't think the above sentence is referring to information systems, I think it refers to information infrastructures. I suggest this edit, "Information infrastructures changed the focus from organizations and systems to networks and infrastructures, allowing for a global and emergent perspective of information systems." Rankinke (talk) 14:32, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Another possible change could be to connect the two sentences by using because,

"The notion of information infrastructures, introduced in the 1990s and refined during the past ten years, has been useful for Information Science/Information Systems(IS), because it changed the focus from organizations and systems to networks ..."
Upon further thought, I think the first two paragraphs could use an overall edit. There is some repetition, and they don't flow that well (see below for my suggestion and additional comments). I also think the "Definitions ..." section contributes to that sense of repetition. It should be moved and citations added, or deleted altogether. Rankinke (talk) 14:32, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

I think these changes make the sentences more neutral and clearer, what do you think? In4matt (talk) 19:52, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Revised introduction (Notes section will need revision if this version (or any part) is implemented):

Information infrastructure is a concept that was first introduced in the early 1990s, first as a political initiative (Gore, 1993 & Bangemann, 1994), later as a more specific concept in information systems research. Hughes’ (1983) accounts of large technical systems, analyzed as socio-technical power structures (Byndik, 2008) was a major influence on the information systems research community.
Information infrastructure is defined as all of the people, processes, procedures, tools, facilities, and technology which supports the creation, use, transport, storage, and destruction of information (Pironti, 2006). It is a technical structure of an organizational form, an analytical perspective or a semantic network, and changed the research perspective from organizations to networks and from systems to infrastructures, allowing for a global and emergent perspective on information systems.
As a theory, information infrastructure has been used to frame a number of extensive case studies (Star and Ruhleder 1996; Ciborra 2000; Hanseth and Ciborra 2007). In particular, in developing an alternative approach to information systems design: “Infrastructures should rather be built by establishing working local solutions supporting local practices which subsequently are linked together rather than by defining universal standards and subsequently implementing them” (Ciborra and Hanseth 1998). Later it was developed into a full design theory, focusing on the growth of an installed base (Hanseth and Lyytinen 2008).
Information infrastructures include the Internet, health systems and corporate systems. It is also consistent to include innovations such as FaceBook, LinkedIn and MySpace as excellent examples (Byndik, 2008). Bowker described several key terms and concepts that are enormously helpful for analyzing information infrastructure: imbrication, bootstrapping, figure/ground, and a short discussion of infrastructural inversion. “Imbrication” is an analytic concept that helps to ask questions about historical data. “Bootstrapping” is the idea that infrastructure must already exist in order to exist (2011). Rankinke (talk) 14:32, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

In the above 'imbrication' and 'bootstrapping,' are described, but not 'figure/ground' or 'infrastructural inversion.' Additionally both imbrication and bootstrapping are also Wikipedia articles, should they not be linked internally? Rankinke (talk) 14:32, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Structure of Introduction[edit]

There is some repetitiveness in the introduction, specifically regarding Hanseth's definition of an information infrastructure "as a shared, evolving, open, standardized, and heterogeneous installed base." In4matt (talk) 03:41, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

comments[edit]

I was asked to comment.

  1. The name of the article should be Information infrastructure, not Information Infrastructure -- we only use word caps for proper names. , e.g. National Science Foundation.
  2. The section: UNDP-APDIP Books does not seem to fit in. If it is an important external resource, it should be listed as an external resource, not in the body of the article
  3. In my experience, it is very difficult to write a good introduction until you have written the content--I suggest leaving it alone for now, and then adjusting it later on. What you now have in the intro seems to me a group of nontechnical definitions followed by a group of technical definitions -- to me, a technical definition is one which uses words that themselves need to be defined for the beginner. You might as well say so explicitly. In any case, don't repeat them in text and a table.
  4. Decide on the reference style; see WP:CITE. Don't mix parenthetical citations with numbered footnotes. DGG ( talk ) 20:07, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank you DGG, I will try to incorporate your comments into the article. In4matt (talk) 23:34, 29 October 2011 (UTC)