Searching the Identity of Information Systems: A Study from Interdisciplinary Contexts

  • Paolo RocchiEmail author
  • Andrea Resca
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 533)


Purpose: The present paper addresses the problem of the information systems (IS) identity, in particular it makes an attempt to identify the intellectual causes that hinder the research about the core of IS and suggests how to remove them.

Design/methodology/approach: Authors who argue on the cultural core of IS sometimes relate this argument to the ‘reference disciplines’ of IS such as economics and sociology. Authors rarely examine what happens in parallel domains of knowledge usually labeled as ‘cognate disciplines’ of IS. We fixed to extend inquiries on the close domains, in particular we have analyzed the literature of artificial intelligence, information retrieval, medical informatics, digital humanities and software engineering.

Findings: Bibliographical evidence shows how these disciplines struggle with the ‘identity crisis’ as IS do; more precisely thinkers share non-trivial difficulties when they argue about broad topics connected to the information technology such as the possibilities and limits of computer systems, the transfer and diffusion of technology etc.

Research implications: We recall how normally philosophy and science progress side to side and cooperate. Instead, the modern literature shows how computer science illustrates all the technical details but does not provide effective explanations to philosophers of post-computation disciplines. Several narrow theories underpin computer systems that prove to be futile to thinkers who address broad arguments. An apparent cause-effect relationship emerges between the fragmentary notions of computer science and the current ‘identity crisis’ of IS and cognate disciplines.

Originality/value: This study leads to a ground-breaking conclusion. In the first stage, the solution to the identity problem should not be searched inside IS but outside. Secondly as soon as possible noteworthy efforts should be made in order to improve the theoretical basis of informatics. More precisely computing theorists should develop a unified cultural frame or, at least, should make significant progress toward this direction.


IS identity Foundational issues Interdisciplinary research Computing theories 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IBMRomeItaly
  2. 2.LUISS Guido Carli Univ.RomeItaly

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