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

(Version 210829-1040)
 This page's URL web address <http://www8.informatik.umu.se/~kivanov/diss-avh.html> and <https://archive.org/details/diss-avh/AvhDunn1972>)



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 downloaded below, or be ordered from the USA's National Technical Information Service NTIS, order # PB-219297. Ref. Dissertation Abstracts International 1974, Vol 35A, 3, p. 1611-A. Internationally catalogued at the National Library of Sweden-Library Information System: LIBRIS.

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


(rev. 210906-1105)



The doctoral dissertation on Quality-control of information develops the scientific meaning and foreshadows the necessity of what later came to be named the Wiki-concept, especially as related tpTrust and security”. In this latter sense of trust and security it can be seen also as a theory of security of computer systems as indicated in the conclusions expressed at the end of other two essays about human-computer interaction - HCI, and about the increasing computerization of the whole society.  

The dissertation forestalls the possibilities of computer technology more than twenty years before the advent of its initial partial implementation in the WikiWikiWeb (see below). An ultimate most known example is the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the most popular wiki-based website, and one of the most widely viewed sites in the world. It also foreshadows by 40 years the scientific meaning and one main answer to the problem of “fake news” as triggered by social media. 

The consequent problems of all this have been addressed in articles about Wikipedia democracy and wikicracy: editing Wikipediaand conceptually in Information and debateThe main ideas of the dissertation and their juridical implications are summarized in the book (in Swedish) Systems development and rule of lawFurther technical details are found in the account of the computer programmer who developed the first wiki by starting to code the WikiWikiWeb in 1994: Ward Cunningham with his book The wiki way (2001)co-authored with Bo Leuf. The latter also expressed the core of the consequent idea of participatory design and computer-supported cooperative work in his book Peer to peer: Collaborating and sharing over the Internet (2002). 

An example of more recent research on related detailed secondary issues is Effects of moderation and opinion heterogeneity on attitude towards the online deliberation experience (CHI'19 Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Human Factors in Computing).



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 "
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., author of Social information processing and statistical systems (1974). (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.), also at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-evidence-bad.html#jCp.