How is an information system created

Information system

The preoccupation with information systems is a central concern of information science. In the strict information science sense, an information system is any system that supports people in the process of knowledge transfer (see also system analysis). Competing definitions are known from computer science, business administration and other areas, but should not be discussed here.

Producer and user perspective

Information systems are interesting for information science in two ways: from the production or input side (from the "user" point of view) and from the side of the information process (from the "user" point of view, see also user research).

This graphic gives an overview of all components relevant to information science. It is a modified version of the representation in: K.-H. Meyer-Uhlenried (1980): The documentation process and its structure. In: Laisiepen / Lutterbeck / Meyer-Uhlenried p. 113.

The input side (production)

The input side is about "data":

  • Data input: What types of data are possible? In what form are they available? How do they come about? What sources do they come from? Keywords: word processing (snormen), desktop publishing, * hypertext, hypermedia
  • Data acquisition: Typical data "procurers" are documentation centers that collect data and prepare it for entry in databases.
  • Data acquisition: The first step in data preparation is the formal analysis and acquisition of data according to a given scheme (form).

Data is processed in this way and entered into databases. This is where the broad field of electronic publishing opens up, in which the most varied of media, forms of publication, forms of distribution, database types, content and target groups play a role. For example, one can roughly distinguish between electronic (CD-ROM, diskettes, computer networks) and non-electronic media (paper, microforms, sound carriers). In terms of electronic media, there are online media and offline media: the former require a telecommunication connection from your own computer to the "outside" (online databases), the latter not (CD-ROM). The online databases include those with bibliographic data (reference, literature databases without full texts), with full texts or with (statistical) facts. When it comes to target groups, we differentiate between those who are looking for specialist information and who primarily research in online databases, libraries or CD-ROMs, and the rest of the information seekers who tend not to search in online databases, but in the Worldwide Web, in libraries or on CD-ROMs.

The output side (information)

The second area of ​​interest in information science is the information process, which comprises all components and sub-processes that have to do with the transfer of knowledge from data collection to the information seeker.

These are (without this meaning a sequence in a predetermined system sequence): information retrieval, electronic document delivery, overcoming language barriers, information presentation, user interface. These are also not isolated components on the side of the information process, rather they are closely related to the data input.

One of the central terms in information science is that Information retrieval (Information retrieval). This is understood to be the actual core process in which knowledge (data) becomes information, namely when a user receives information that helps him to solve a problem. This can be a complex process, depending on how detailed the data has been prepared in terms of content (see above) and prepared for the retrieval process. The more complex the possibility of formulating a request to a data collection, the greater the probability that the information you are looking for will also be "hit". For searches in online databases, there are complicated query languages ​​that allow a precise search. The search engines in the worldwide web make this possible to an increasing extent, so that the query languages ​​fade into the background.

Electronic Document Delivery includes processes that relate to the (electronic) transmission of digitized data. One example of this is subito, the library's document delivery service.

The last three areas deal with the possibilities of overcoming access barriers for users: overcoming language barriers, information presentation, user interfaces.

Language barriers can be eliminated either here on the information process side or on the data input side, e.g. by translating text data (automatically) during data preparation and adding the translation to the document, or by offering translation-on-demand, the translation of the Information not yet translated found in a text collection. Other possibilities are multilingual indexing (i.e. the allocation of document-describing descriptors in several languages) or the translation of a search query entered in the native language to a database into the language of the database.

Information presentation: The information found should be presented to the user in an appealing way if possible and with means that are abundantly available in the areas of hyper- and multimedia. .

A wide area is also the preparation of an attractive, convenient and efficient User interface to the information system. This includes screen design, user guidance, natural language interfaces, expert systems, etc.

In summary, when using an information system, the user must answer the following questions or solve problems on the way to information (or the user must be able to answer these questions himself):

* How do I use the information system? * Is the presentation of the information appropriate? * Is access possible in my language? * Can I find the information I want? * How / where can I find the documents I am looking for? * How do I get the documents I am looking for?

CONCLUSION: The above compilation of components and sub-processes of information systems as well as aspects of their development and use does not claim to be a complete representation of the complex "information system" or an instruction for the creation or use of an information system. The text presents the concept of the information system from the point of view of information science and shows the essential components in context.

Web sources


  • Buckland, M. (1991): Information and Information Systems. Westport, London: Greenwood Press
  • Herget, J .; R. Kuhlen (Ed., 1990): Pragmatic Aspects in the Design and Operation of Information Systems. Writings on information science vol. 1. Konstanz: Universitätsverlag
  • Hoffmann, Friedrich; Brauweiler, Hans-Christian; Wagner, Robert (1996): Computerized Information Systems. 2nd Edition. Munich: Oldenbourg
  • Kuhlen, Rainer; Thomas Seeger; Dietmar Strauch (ed., 2004): Basics of practical information and documentation. 5th edition. Munich: K. G. Saur
  • Kunz, W .; H. Rittel (1972): The information sciences. Munich (out of print, only in the subject or university library)
  • Laisiepen, K .; E. Lutterbeck; K.-H. Meyer-Uhlenried (Ed., 1980). Basics of practical information and documentation. Munich et al .: K.G. Sour
  • Soergel, D. (1985): Organizing Information. Orlando et al.
  • Zehnder, Carl August (2001): Information systems and databases. 7th edition. Zurich: vdf Hochschulverlag AG

Related terms