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Msc in Information Technology

Information System
Theory and Practice

The Blackwood Library

Thomas Gerodimos

ID: B00145180

2009
Table of Contents
Part A ........................................................................................................................ 3

1. Two system Diagram techniques .............................................................. 3

1.1 Spray diagram ................................................................................. 5

1.2 Rich pictures diagram...................................................................... 5

2.1 Copyright, data protection and security ........................................... 6

2.2 Health .............................................................................................. 6

2.3 Socialization .................................................................................... 6

2.4 Cost of equipment ........................................................................... 7

2.5 Social Services ................................................................................ 7

2. Relatives Systems .................................................................................... 8

3.1 Copyright and data protection: Relative systems ............................ 8

3.2 Socialization: Relative systems ....................................................... 9

3.3 Social Services: Relative systems ................................................... 9

3. Relative Systems with root definitions .................................................... 10

4.1 Information System ....................................................................... 10

4.2 Educational system ....................................................................... 11

4. Conceptual Model ................................................................................... 12

5. Report ..................................................................................................... 15

Part B ...................................................................................................................... 20

Information Systems Evaluation ...................................................................... 20

Organizational impacts of information systems ...................................... 21

Information systems in the economy and society ................................... 22

The future ............................................................................................... 23

References ............................................................................................. 24
Part A

1. Two system Diagram techniques

Spray Diagram of Blackwood LIbrary

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Diagram 1: Spray diagram of Blackwood library


…Within 3
years all public IS Library creation Convert books .. to .. ebooks

Decision libraries must be


financially
independent…

Increase Library
Income

Chief
Hires
Librarian

Information
exlore the
System
sistuation
Analyst

Effects on Problem to get


children the book I need,
Data Protection and education, it will be nice to
Copyright Acts must children section Will reduce the
be able to
been reassured ( events quality of life
reference the
using data coding). book I need.
Stuff retraining. Technical texts Problem is the
conversion is terminal access
good but with
antiques the
sense of history
will be lost
G. Withington W. Smith

S.K.Marchal Senior
Librarian Profit making A. Skales
Stunent
service in a
Accessibility public library Consider health
problems, live sucks, it is good issues: eyestrain,
community, an up-to-date ensuing Consultancy
equipment cost, B.G Thomas Client’s opinions and proposals about the proposal
library, IT will Chairman of headaches, back
readability new IT library
improve Blackwood problems,
efficiency Antiquarian Society danger for
pregnant women

Mrs. E.A.Walker N Penmann Bsc. J.B. Biggs


Conservative
Dr P. D. Johnson Association

Diagram 2: Rich text diagram of Blackwood library


These diagram techniques were selected for 3 basic reasons:

 They illustrate the environment, the situations and possible problems

 They represent a full understanding of a given case

 They help to sort out the information gathered during the research.

1.1 Spray diagram


The Spray Diagram is a very useful mean to organize all the recorded data collected
during the research. It is not necessary for the data to be homogenized, they are just
inserted in the diagram and their role in the entire system is revealed. It is an easy and
quick way to acquire a total vision of the situation.

The main problem is that there is a trend to add a lot of information, therefore the
diagram becomes too complex and risks to be difficult to understand.

1.2 Rich pictures diagram


Rich Pictures are cartoon-like diagrams that can be used to record one's understanding
of a given situation. It minimizes the constraints of the language that might be imposed
through the use of some words.

As an old Chinese proverb mentions, “one picture is worth a thousand words”.

Is a good tool that helps the IS Analyst to perceive the structure, process, environment
and various elements existing in the state of affairs examined. The overall impression of
a given case can be easily presented which is often difficult or even unwanted to be
said but, nevertheless, may prove to be a valuable piece of information about the
situation.

A main disadvantage - criticism is that artistic skills are necessary. However, even crude
drawings involving matchstick people and generalized objects can depict quite complex
and revealing situations.

A good quality Rich Picture diagram may contain a large amount of information on one
page, so it makes it easy for the reader to get an understanding of the situation right
away and also overcome the first reluctant action.
Problem themes

From the investigation of the Blackwood Library 5 main problem themes can be
identified regarding:

2.1 Copyright, data protection and security


It is a very difficult task to ensure data protection and copyrights of the books that
are going to be in electronic form. To achieve this, a number of techniques are
required including:
Hardware security (firewall, IDS, backup systems etc.)
Software security (database, software firewall, antivirus etc.)
Data coding
Digital signatures
Data encryption algorithms
Censorship is a very “sensitive” problem that must be solved in the stage of the
project analysis.
This problem theme was mentioned by S. K. Marshal, a senior librarian

2.2 Health
The possible danger to the health of both library customers and employees is a
very important issue and everyone involved must be properly informed about the
risks.

The main risks are the danger of eyestrain and ensuing headaches as a result of
the continuous use of VDU screens, potential back problems due to sitting in
front of a keyboard and a terminal and not always in the right position of the body
and finally possible dangers to pregnant women from the VDU screens.

This problem theme was mentioned by Dr P. D. Johnson

2.3 Socialization
The library has become the place where people can meet and discuss while
choosing books and/or taking a snack in the library cafeteria. Various events are
also organized which are social occasions for different age groups.
The disappearance of these activities will be great loss and can’t be replaced by
the new technology based system.

This problem theme was mentioned by G. Withington, a young mother and Mrs.
E. A. Walker, a 72 years old citizen

2.4 Cost of equipment


The cost of the equipment that is needed in order to use the new library system
is very high. The users must have at least a terminal and a fast network
connection in order to be able to see the available library videos. The terminal
access will also be a constraint.

Many people, like the elderly, students and children don’t have the means to buy
this equipment and it will be impossible for them to use the library. This could
lead to the failure of the new system.

This problem theme was mentioned by Mrs. E. A. Walker, a 72 years old citizen,
G. Withington, a young mother and A. Skales, student

2.5 Social Services


Social services and customer satisfaction are very important elements that are
going to affect directly the success of the new library system. It is difficult for the
public to accept a public institution that makes profit. An up to date synchronous
library should provide high levels of customer satisfaction and communications
procedures or systems.

This problem theme was mentioned by Mr. Norman Penmann Bsc


2. Relatives Systems

3.1 Copyright and data protection: Relative systems


 A security system that will ensure that the library data are protected from
various threats. Such a system will include hardware and software
subsystems like:

 IDS

Intrusion Detection Systems is specialized software (or hardware)


that continuously monitors network activity, searches for suspicious
activity and takes automated action.

There are a variety of IDSs types:

 Host based IDS


 Network based IDS
 Protocol based IDS
 Application protocol based IDS
 Hybrid IDS
 Firewall

Firewall is software (or hardware) that runs in the same or different


computer or a separate hardware devise, inspects network traffic
passing through it and controls the network traffic to the system
website and vice versa.

Firewall works with rules and trusted zones. It usually permits or


denies a packet to travel through it. The “decision” that the firewall
takes is based on a specific rule that it has, for example doesn’t
allow any packet pass the port 21 (that is use for ftp) or no packet
must reach a specific zone that it must be unreachable for external
IP’s. The most common disaggregation is between Internet and
Intranets.

 Antivirus – antispyware system


A system that continuously monitors for viruses, Trojan and a great
variety of threats.

 Administration System

A system that will administrate the library, ensuring the security for
the registered users of the library services. All the users will
respect / accept the copyright laws at the phase of registration and
will be monitored for their actions while they are online.

3.2 Socialization: Relative systems


 Creation of a human network based on the books read as well as
formation of book groups. These actions will be supported by monthly
meetings and presentations of new books.

3.3 Social Services: Relative systems


 An automatic information system via phone that will provide information 24
hours, 7 days the week.

 A training system for the staff (retraining) or the library customers.

In order to pass from today’s library to an IT library system, staff retraining


is vital for maintaining the same level of quality in customer service.
Additionally it would be a good idea to provide a set of training also to
customers, mainly to groups of older people or children, in how to use the
new system.
3. Relative Systems with root definitions
From the above, relative systems No 4 and No 5 are presented below.

4.1 Information System


Root Definition:

An automatic system to inform the users by phone about the available services
and books in order to improve the quality of library services.

A CATWOE for this root definition is:

C – Library customers

A – Librarians, administrative staff, IT Analyst

T – Personal services (face-to-face)  Transformation Process  On-line


services

W – Improve the quality of library services

O – City council

E – Funding / copyrights / community members reactions


4.2 Educational system
Root Definition:

An educational system to train staff and community members using Technology


in order to improve IT skills of the staff and customers.

A CATWOE for this root definition is:

C – Clients, staff

A – Clients, staff, trainers

T – No IT experience and knowledge  Transformation Process  IT


experience and knowledge

W – Provide everyone with the ability of using the new IT Library system

O – Blackwood Library

E – None existence IT skills, the age of the customers


4. Conceptual Model
The first root definition is about the level and quality of social services which
summarizes the whole project. The goal is to transform the Blackwood library to an IT
based library which will provide to community members / customers advanced services
that they are willing to pay for.

Activities that are the basis of the conceptual model are:

1. Customer needs analysis


2. Offered Services
3. Constraints: Staff technical skills, Funding, Copyright
4. Digitize stock: books, magazines, newspapers, tapes, videos
5. System set up
6. System operation: ( testing )
7. System assessment : Evaluate the services that are offered via this system
Conceptual Model

6. Customer
7. Digitize
needs
stock
analysis

5. Offered
Services

3. System
1. System set
assessment
up

4. Constraints

2. System
operation

Monitor 1-7

Take control
action
Criteria definition for:
Efficacy
Efficiency
Effectiveness
Efficacy: Is the system complete regarding the information that will provide to the end
user?

Efficiency: Was the resource minimum?

Effectiveness: Are the provided services fulfilled according to the initial goal?
5. Report
Blackwood library was built in 1970s in a flat roofed concrete slab construction
and large area of glass. The library serves 987.500 people, 950.000 city citizens and
another 37.500 of the outlying areas. Within 25 miles, there are 3 high education
colleges and a major university.

The library is open throughout the year. Since Blackwood is a summer resort, there are
a lot of customers during the vacation period, in addition to the students of the Open
University.

A number of services are available to library users apart from the loan of a variety of
books and videos, such as mobile library (for distance users), VISTEL (for disabled
people), MATRICS (for industrial and business organizations), homebound readers
service (librarian is responsible for collecting the books from the user’s residence), a
number of social events (children’s library events, storytelling to children), a
noticeboard.

In order to continue the IS analysis and reach the final goal which is the development of
an IT supported library that will be financially independent in a period of 3 years time, a
question must be answered:

What is Information Technology supported library?

An Information Technology supported library is a collection of digitized books, videos,


photos, magazines available to the users in various forms (computers, mobiles, and e-
books, CD / DVD) worldwide.

The main advantages are:

No physical boundary. The user can be connected via internet worldwide and
gain access to the requested information. available.

Round the clock availability. Access to the library’s information can be gained
at any time, night or day in a 24/7 basis (24 hours / 7 days a week).

Multiple access.
o Without Copyright. The same resources can be used at the same time
by a number of institutions and individuals. Every user can easily find the
product requested.

o With Copyright. The library should establish a lending policy and get
license for the books and services it provides. A usual support system
could be the use of digital rights management, where the material can
become inaccessible after the lending predefined period or after the lender
chooses to make it inaccessible.

Information retrieval. A variety of searching resources will be available to the


users (word, phrase, title, name, and subject).

Preservation and conservation. Digitization is not the solution to the problem of


preservation, but does succeed in providing copies for materials that would
otherwise be damaged from repeated use.

Physical Space. Traditional libraries have the problem of limited storage space,
whereas digital libraries can store much more information.

Added value. Certain characteristics of material (images, sound, videos), may


be improved.

At the recent meeting of National Library Association (NLA), in order to follow the
government policy that all libraries should be financially self supported, it was agreed
that a dramatic reallocation of UK library resources is necessary. Each area will
specialize in 1 or 2 areas of knowledge and have access to other specializations via an
electronic communication network.

According to the last year transactions (diagram 3) we can see that Adult fiction, Adult
Non-fiction and Junior are the 96% of overall year transaction.
Diagram 3: Annual transactions of the Blackwood library

These sections must be the main knowledge areas of Blackwood library.

The right personnel is a key factor to the smooth and successful function of the library.
There will be two types of personnel, librarians and Information Technology staff. The IT
staff would administrate, maintain the system but also be able to evaluate and
implement technology innovations that could be useful for the library.

Librarians know very well the book information and the user’s needs. It would be very
useful if the librarians had a minimum of technical knowledge in order to help the users
if it’s needed. It could be handy to retrain the existing staff instead of hiring new ones
because the users are familiar with the librarians and it would be easier for them to use
the new system if someone they knew helped them.

A very important point is the copyright law and whatever aspect of the library this
influences. It is very important to establish clear boundaries concerning which product is
free of use and which not due to copyright. The implementation of the digital rights
management is necessary.

The library will provide a number of network services and a friendly user interface for
searching of information from within a number of resources. The enrolled users will be
able to access the resources from their home if they have an internet connection and
even print it (if it is free of copyright). If the users don’t own computers they could visit
the library where there will be available terminals in every section.
An automated information system could inform them about the book in need at their
own convenience.

The system database analysis and development must take into consideration every
modern technique about content building, document summarization, categorization and
indexing in order to make the material digitization. All the relevant procedures must be
as much automated as possible and be written and followed by all personnel. Content
creation is an additional issue that must been taking care of, in terms of cost digitization
(if it is physical content, like a magazine).

The primary goal of the library will remain the satisfaction of the user’s needs. Although
the services that the library will offer will be improved, it would be appreciated by the
public to maintain some of the “old characteristics”.

The user’s needs and fears must always be considered and some actions should be
taken such as:

1. Inform the users for the health issues, how to deal with them and the library’s
precautions (special hardware screens, special anatomic chairs).

2. Organize more social and educational events in an attempt to bring more people
to the library.

Sponsors have to be found in order to fund the project. Blackwood companies could be
big sponsors of the implementation of the system. In exchange for their offer they could
advertise their products in the library.

The website of the library is another source that can be used to raise money. With
almost 1.000.000 users (the people that the library serves today) many companies
would be interested and attracted to place an ad in Blackwood library website.

Some other profitable sources that are used today are the library’s cafeteria,
companies’ subscriptions, children’s events etc.

An annual fee could be established for the user’s enrollment but must be kept in low
levels in order to be attractive. A number of alternative payment scenarios could also be
implemented such as, pay per visit, family prices etc.
The sources of possible income exist but the financial policy that is going to be adopted
is vital. If financial policy is successful then the government requirement for financial
independence will be fulfilled.
Part B

Information Systems Evaluation


According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_system) an
Information System (IS) is “a system of people, data records and activities that
process the data and information in an organization, and it includes the organization's
manual and automated processes.” (Wikipedia 2009)

“…a system which assembles, stores, processes and delivers information relevant to an
organisation (or to society), in such a way that the information is accessible and useful
to those who wish to use it, including managers, staff, clients and citizens. An
information system is a human activity (social) system which may or may not involve the
use of computer systems”.

(Buckingham, Hirschheim, Land and Tully, 1987)

Information is an important aspect of each organization. It is used for decision-


making and strategy planning at every management level of hierarchy using different
levels of analysis and adopting them to each situation. For example, at the high
management level the information can be generalized and as we get down to hierarchy
can be more and more detailed.

There are some characteristics that define if an information received can be of use or
not. It can be useful if it gets to the people who really need it and know how to deal with
it, if the appropriate mean of communication is used, if it is in the right format and has
the necessary details, if it is accurate, complete and cost-effective.

An information system is the system where the information is being:

 Created
 Stored
 Evaluated
 Processed
 Delivered
 Accessed

In system science we have two types of systems:


1. Hard systems
And
2. Soft systems

In Hard systems approaches (or Structured Systems Analysis and Design Methodology
(SSADM)), rigid techniques and procedures are used to provide unambiguous solutions
to well-defined data and processing problems. These focus on computer
implementations.

The 3 most important techniques that are used in SSADM are:

Logical Data Modeling: The process where we identify, model and document the
system requirements. Logical data model is separated into entities and
relationships.
Data Flow Modeling: The process where we identify, model and document the
movement of the data in an information system. Data Flow Model examines
processes, data stores, external entities and data flows.
Entity Behavior Modeling: The process where we identify, model and document
the events and the sequence that happens on an entity.

In Soft systems methodology (SSM), a "toolbox" of techniques can be used at the


discretion of the analyst. These focus on improvements to organisational problems. We
can represent SSM as:

1. Declare the problem situation

2. Formulate root definitions of relevant systems

3. Build conceptual models of the systems of the root definitions

4. Compare models with real world

5. Define possible and feasible change

6. Implement changes in order to improve the problem situation

Organizational impacts of information systems

Information systems change the way companies interact and how they are structured. In general,
they can significantly lower the costs of communication among employees and improve
coordination. Information systems do not make higher profits, this depends on the skill (with
which information systems are deployed) and the availability of other resources.
Information systems consist of two parts. There is the most important part which is the
information itself, and there is also the means to use this information such as portable computers,
mobile telecommunications and groupware, which enable employees to work wherever they are,
at the office or at their residence.

Information systems in the economy and society

The new information systems based on the internet have helped in the development of
international corporations in conjunction with the worldwide transportation growth.

The network based information systems, in conjunction with the transportation infrastructure
worldwide, were the basis for the development of international companies. A great number of
corporations took advantage of the new information systems which helped in their growth and
changed the way of doing business.

Since the highly developed societies were the first to adopt the new information systems, a
number of ethical issues were born and the most important are:

Individual privacy: It concerns the right to have access and handle personal data. A
number of corporations and even the government itself do need to gather information in
order to assist to the administration and take advantage of new business opportunities.
However, this is privacy violation which is perceived as an unwanted loss of
independence. Electronic commerce presents a particular challenge to privacy, as
personal information is regularly gathered and spread in a way that is largely unregulated.
The problem becomes even bigger with the absence of an international legal standard.

Property rights: Intellectual property, such as computer software, books, music, and
movies, is protected by patents, trade secrets, and copyrights. Nevertheless, since all
these are in effect insubstantial goods, it is easy to copy and distribute them electronically
for any kind of use without having the legal rights. This situation can be anticipated
through the use of legal statutes and technology developments, like antipiracy encryption
and electronic watermarks.

Universal access and free speech: Access to worldwide public information systems,
such as the Internet, is more and more needed for full participation in contemporary
society. Internet is considered as the means to human communication and by a great
number of people it is perceived as the most widely accessible medium to exercise the
right to freedom of speech. Therefore, open access to the Internet is highly treasured. Yet
legitimate concerns arise about protecting children without resulting to censorship.
Technological solutions, such as software that filters out pornography, are to some extent
successful.
Information accuracy: The accuracy of the personal data contained in all kind of
databases, whether health, insurance, government files etc, is of high importance since
misinformation can negatively affect personal safety and everyday life. Therefore,
individuals must cooperate in reviewing and correcting their files and organizations must
guarantee the proper use and access to such files.

Quality of life: The information systems have affected the quality of personal and
working lives. In the working environment, information systems can be used to reduce
boring tasks and give workers greater autonomy. On the other hand, their use can lead to
jobs elimination and the remaining workforce could be subject to invasive electronic
inspection. Consumers can use the Internet to comparison shop for everything from
artificial goods to financial services but not without any risk; many times they have to
deal with spam e-mails, stolen credit card numbers and dangerous computer viruses.

Ethics: The speed and efficiency of electronic information systems (including LAN,
WAN, Databases, and programs) creates new rights and responsibilities in the use of
information. Information is a influential weapon and must be used with caution. Many
ethical issues and considerations aroused from the IS development. Today information
systems reach into all levels of government, into the companies, and into everyone’s life,
therefore every person is affected. The need of new legal and ethical ways is now most
important than ever in order to maintain a balance between every person’s needs and
rights.

The future
The continuous development of internet and the transition from web to web 2.0
applications, created a new era in the information systems. Information systems are
expanding. Their target is to increase the users’ participation and interaction through the
application of various means (polls, access to a variety of services like e-banking) and
support them in everyday life.

Social networking and information sharing is the dominant future trend which has
started to influence information system development and theory. New information
systems are built with advanced information sharing abilities like known social
networking applications (Facebook, MySpace), and photo sharing applications (Flickr,
Picasa). Social networking introduced new ways to communicate and share
information. The goal of these applications is for their members worldwide to connect
and communicate. The same applies to the modern Information Systems which try to
connect all the employees within an organization by giving them various capabilities
such as sharing information and training.
References
1. (Wikipedia 2009) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_system)

2. http://home.aisnet.org/associations/7499/files/Index_Markup.cfm

3. http://suchen.uni-muenster.de/wiwi-
en.cgi?q=is+future+trends&x=0&y=0&ul=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ercis.de%2F
%25&t=%25D11%25

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_networking

5. http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/ethics/ethics_f.html

6. http://www.answers.com/topic/scalability