Information Infrastructure

Information Infrastructure

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An information infrastructure is defined by Hanseth (2002) as "a shared, evolving, open, standardized, and heterogeneous installed base" and by Pironti (2006) as all of the people, processes, procedures, tools, facilities, and technology which supports the creation, use, transport, storage, and destruction of information. The notion of information infrastructures, introduced in the 1990s and refined during the past ten years, has proven quite fruitful to the IS field. It changed the perspective from organizations to networks and from systems to infrastructures, allowing for a global and emergent perspective on information systems. Information infrastructure is a technical structure of an organizational form, an analytical perspective or a semantic network. The concept of information infrastructure (II) was introduced in the early 1990s, first as a political initiative (Gore, 1993 & Bangemann, 1994), later as a more specific concept in Information Systems (IS) research. For the IS research community an important inspiration was Hughes (1983) accounts of large technical systems, analyzed as socio-technical power structures (Bygstad, 2008).

As defined by Hanseth, an information infrastructure is “a shared, evolving, open, standardized, and heterogeneous installed base” (Hanseth 2002). As a theory, it has been used to frame a number of extensive case studies (Star and Ruhleder 1996; Ciborra 2000; Hanseth and Ciborra 2007), and in particular to develop an alternative approach to IS 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). It has later been 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 (Bygstad, 2008).
Bowker has 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).

Definitions of information infrastructure


“Technological and non-technological elements that are linked” (Hanseth and Monteiro 1996).

“Information infrastructures can, as formative contexts, shape not only the work routines, but also the ways people look at practices, consider them 'natural' and give them their overarching character of necessity. Infrastructure becomes an essential factor shaping the taken-for-grantedness of organizational practices” (Ciborra and Hanseth 1998).

“The technological and human components, networks, systems, and processes that contribute to the functioning of the health information system” (Braa et al. 2007).

“The set of organizational practices, technical infrastructure and social norms that collectively provide for the smooth operation of scientific work at a distance (Edwards et al. 2007).

“A shared, evolving, heterogeneous installed base of IT capabilities developed on open and standardized interfaces” (Hanseth and Lyytinen 2008).

Etymology


According to the Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary
The Online Etymology Dictionary is an online dictionary that describes the origins of English-language words. The abbreviation, OED, coincides with the frequently used acronym for the Oxford English Dictionary.-Description:...

 (OED) the etymology of the words that make up the phrase "information infrastructure" are as follows:

Information late 14c., "act of informing," from O.Fr. informacion, enformacion "information, advice, instruction," from L. informationem (nom. informatio) "outline, concept, idea," noun of action from pp. stem of informare (see inform). Meaning "knowledge communicated" is from mid-15c. Information technology attested from 1958. Information revolution from 1969.

Infrastructure 1887, from Fr. infrastructure (1875); see infra- + structure. The installations that form the basis for any operation or system. Originally in a military sense.

Dimensions of Infrastructure


According to Star and Ruhleder, there are 8 dimensions of information infrastructures.
  1. Embeddedness
  2. Transparency
  3. Reach or scope
  4. Learned as part of membership
  5. Links with conventions of practice
  6. Embodiment of standards
  7. Built on an installed base
  8. Becomes visible upon breakdown

Information infrastructure as public policy


Presidential Chair & Professor of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

, Christine L. Borgman
Christine L. Borgman
Christine L. Borgman is Professor and University of California Presidential Chair in Information Studies at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles...

 argues information infrastructures, like all infrastructures, are "subject to public policy."In the United States, public policy defines information infrastructures as the "physical and cyber-based systems essential to the mimimum operations of the economy and government" and connected by information technologies.

Global Information Infrastructure (GII)


Borgman claims governments, businesses, communities, and individuals can work together to create a global information infrastructure which links "the world's telecommunication and computer networks together" and would enable the transmission of "every conceivable information and communication application."

Currently, the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 is the default global information infrastructure."

Asia


The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region...

 Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) Program of Action for Information and Communications Infrastructure.

Southeast Asia


Association of South East Asian Nations, e-ASEAN Framework Agreement of 2000.
United States

National Information Infrastructure Act of 1993 National Information Infrastructure
National Information Infrastructure
The National Information Infrastructure was the product of the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991. It was a telecommunications policy buzzword, which was popularized during the Clinton Administration under the leadership of Vice-President Al Gore...

 (NII)
Canada

The National Research Council established CA*net
CANARIE
CANARIE is a Canadian government-supported non-profit corporation, founded in 1993, which maintains a set of leased wide area network links for the transfer of very large data files. The core network consists of 19000 km of fibre optic cable capable of speeds as high as 100 Gbps but...

 in 1989 and the network connecting "all provincial nodes" was operational in 1990.
The Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research, Industry and Education(CANARIE)
CANARIE
CANARIE is a Canadian government-supported non-profit corporation, founded in 1993, which maintains a set of leased wide area network links for the transfer of very large data files. The core network consists of 19000 km of fibre optic cable capable of speeds as high as 100 Gbps but...

 was established in 1992 and CA*net was upgraded to a T1
T1
- Technology :* T1 font or Cork encoding, a character encoding used in computer programming and telecommunications* UltraSPARC T1, a microprocessor* T1, another name for Digital Signal 1 , a standard digital communications link...

 connection in 1993 and T3
T3
T3 or T-3 may refer to:* SPARC_T3, a CPU introduced by Sun Microsystems in 2010* Digital Signal 3 or T3 line, a type of telecommunications service* Fletcher's Ice Island or T-3, an iceberg discovered by U.S. Air Force Colonel Joseph O...

 in 1995. By 2000, "the commercial basis for Canada's information infrastructure" was established, and the government ended its role in the project.

Africa


In 1995, American Vice President Al Gore asked USAID to help improve Africa's connection to the global information infrastructure.

The USAID Leland Initiative (LI) was designed from June to September 1995, and implemented in on September 29th 1995. The Initiative was "a five-year $15 million US Government effort to support sustainable development" by bringing "full Internet connectivity" to approximately 20 African nations.

The initiative had three strategic objectives:
  1. Creating and Enabling Policy Environment-to "reduce barriers to open connectivity."
  2. Creating Sustainable Supply of Internet Services- help build the hardware and industry need for "full Internet connectivity."
  3. Enhancing Internet Use for Sustainable Development- improve the ability of African nations to use these infrastructures.


External Links

  • Online Etymology Dictionary
    Online Etymology Dictionary
    The Online Etymology Dictionary is an online dictionary that describes the origins of English-language words. The abbreviation, OED, coincides with the frequently used acronym for the Oxford English Dictionary.-Description:...

  • USAID Leland Initiative
  • ASEAN
  • APEC