On the concept of accuracy of information in data-banks and in management information systems

(Version 180918-1045. This page's URL web address <http://www.informatik.umu.se/~kivanov/diss-avh.html>)



Ivanov, Kristo (1972). Quality-control of information: On the concept of accuracy of information in data-banks and in management information systems. Stockholm: The Royal Institute of Technology KTH. (Doctoral dissertation, 258 pages). Copies can be ordered from the USA's National Technical Information Service NTIS, order # PB-219297. Ref. National Library of Sweden-Library Information System LIBRIS. Ref. Dissertation Abstracts International 1974, Vol 35A, 3, p. 1611-A.

The dissertation was presented to the faculty of the Royal Institute of Technology for public disputation and defense on 11 December 1972, at 2:00 pm in the hall of the university college, Valhallavägen 79, Stockholm.

Local download from this site of the dissertation in pdf-format:
Whole download (18 MB, 259 pp.), all parts in one

Earlier arrangement, download in three parts:
Part 1 of 3 (22 MB) - Abstract, Contents, Introduction, and up to including chapter 3, see "Contents"
Part 2 of 3 (44 MB ) - Chapters 4 and 5, including Conclusions
Part 3 of 3 (48 MB) - Appendixes 1-12, and References/Bibliography


This paper is intended to assist those who develop, use, maintain, audit, or in general may be affected by so-called Data-Banks and Management Information Systems.

One purpose of the paper is to recognize the importance of accuracy, or more generally of quality of information. Data-Banks and Management Information Systems may typically imply some processing performed on externally obtained measurements and pre-processed inputs, while their outputs may be stored and used by people in unknown contexts.

To the extent that this happens it becomes more difficult to expect that the quality of information can be represented by a measure of effectiveness of systems and subsystems in relation to operational goals. Thus, a second purpose of this paper is to suggest some possibilities of attaching a measure of quality to discrete items of information, such as coded observations and intermediate computational results.

The paper consists of five chapters supporting five sets of statements regarding the consequences of present practices, and what can be done to implement the most necessary improvements. Illustrative examples emphasize administrative applications such as in public planning and in industrial manufacturing.



KEY WORDS (updated list)
Information system design, data integrity, privacy, security, secrecy, reliability, validity, precision, EDP auditing, system management, data-management, data base, actor network, inquiring systems, dialectics, cybernetics.



(1) By Churchill Eisenhart (1972). U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards. (Letter, pdf-format: Click here.)

(2) By Edgar S. Dunn, Jr. (1972). Resources for the Future Inc. (Letter, pdf-format: Click here.)

(3) By Steven Shapin (1994): Long after the publication of the dissertation a book by Steven Shapin, A Social History of Truth, indirectly details and confirms many historical roots of its scientific approach. It can be seen as extending the dissertation and its applicability in discussing truth vs. secrecy in communication and information technological (CIT) systems as related to the following keywords: measurement, reasonable agreement, accuracy-precision-certainty-exactness, error-failure, probabilistic discourse, conflict-cooperation, power-politics-religion, political correctness, system trust, and CIT-users-specialists as "invisible technicians". Most relevant pages: 24, 26, 30, 32, 211-3, 216-220, 223-4, 226-8, 230-1, 310-1, 314, 318, 328-9, 338-9, 342, 350, 352-3, 355, 389, 412-3.

(4) By Laura Sebastian-Coleman (2013). Measuring Data Quality for Ongoing Improvement (see Appendix D.)

(5) Further evaluative references are contained in reviews of the book (in Swedish) about privacy vs. security that was published in 1986 on the basis of the published doctoral dissertation, [permitted download, pdf-format 66 MB] Systemutveckling och Rättssäkerhet [Systems development and rule of law]. Cf. e.g. the review by Peter Seipel (in Swedish) in Cecilia Magnusson & Olav Torvund (eds.) Myndighetsdata och Rättssäkerhet: Nordisk Årsbok i Rättsinformatik, (Norstedts, 1988, ISBN 91-1-887351-0, pp. 193-196.)

(6) The permanent timeliness of the subject of the dissertation and its further development is also suggested by more recent problems of scientific method as exposed in Lachlan J. Gunn, et al. "Too good to be true: when overwhelming evidence fails to convince." Proceedings of The Royal Society A. To be published (as per Jan. 7, 2016.). Arxiv pre-print: arxiv.org/abs/1601.00900. Summary by Lisa Zyga in Why too much evidence can be a bad thing. (January 4, 2016.) Read also at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-evidence-bad.html#jCp.