Abstract - The Information Society 11(2)

Computerization and changes to infrastructures for knowledge work

Karen Ruhleder

The impact of information technologies, particularly an on-line data bank for Greek textual materials, on one domain of knowledge work, classical scholarship, is analyzed. It discusses these impacts within a framework derived from Bateson's (1972) theory of learning, characterizing these impacts at 3 levels of conceptual complexity. The first level affects individual work practices and resource requirements. The 2nd level requires local renegotiation of resource allocation and other forms of policy setting. The 3rd level affects the discipline as a whole, reconfiguring traditional boundaries and challenging assumptions. Problems at this level - and the political nature of their solution - hold key lessons for other applications of information systems developed to support broad bases of knowledge workers, as well as broader initiatives such as the US National Information Infrastructure.

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