Post-industrial society is of strikingly complex nature; progressive division of labour and changes in production and goods structures inducing a deepening interdependency of actors and economic market participators and giving rise — both enabled and enforced by powerful transportation and tele-communication media — to the globalization of markets and, hence, of society as well is accompanied inevi­tably by increasing information demands and more complex control and decision tasks. Whether we concern governmental planning and policy, top level manage­ment decision making of large and particularly multi-national companies, or scien­tific research: more than ever before, rational action crucially depends on our data image of the world, on the inferences we (can) draw from bodies of data — num­bers, in fact — representing reality. In its 17th century beginnings conceived of as disciplina status — a description of state affairs as exemplified by polyhistorian Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s „Staatstafeln“ or political arithmetician John Graunt’s mortality tables - in order to have a means to reason about reality, the role of data representing (views of) the world has undergone transformations since - by pro­posals such as Lambert Adolphe Jacob Quetelet’s Physique sociale (which stipu­lated the homme moyen-concept) in the 19th century - of so profound a nature that reality in our age is data in a very definite sense: there simply is no other way to get hold of our complex world mentally. Thus, preparing and maintaining data images of the world has become a crucial factor of economic prosperity and social self-awareness, and those who take care of these data images are considered to be better off in world-wide competition and political leverage.


Data Integration Data Context Metadata Operation Governmental Planning Powerful Transportation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl A. Froeschl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Statistics, Operations Research, and Computer ScienceUniversity of ViennaAustria

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