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Informatics and the Inca

Beynon-Davies, Paul 2007. Informatics and the Inca. International Journal of Information Management 27 (5) , pp. 306-318. 10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2007.05.003

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In this paper the term informatics is used as a convenient umbrella term to stand for the overlapping disciplinary areas of information systems, information management and information technology. Much debate has occurred over the last few years surrounding the status of informatics as a discipline. We argue that this debate revolves around the issue of the most appropriate locus for the discipline and that this debate may be informed by a better definition for the central concept of information system. We describe the case of the Inca civilisation, their use of information specialists and a distinct ‘information technology’ and use this as a reflective lens for highlighting the core features of this central concept. What is fascinating about this particular case is that whereas the ‘information system’ described was critical to the effective operation of a large and successful Amer-Indian empire, the ‘information technology’ at its core did not even utilise written language. An examination of this case therefore provides a necessary intellectual distance but also grounding to our discussion of the centrality of the concept of information system to the discipline of informatics.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Uncontrolled Keywords: Information systems; Information management; Information technology; Core concepts; Historical research
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0268-4012
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:30

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