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Title: "Developing Information Infrastructure: The Tension Between Standardization and Flexibility"
Authors: Ole Hanseth Norwegian Computing Centre, Norway
Eric Monteiro University of Trondheim, Norway
Morten Hatling SINTEF-NIS, Norway
Source: Science, Technology and Human Values, Vol. 21, No. 4, p. 407-426
Publication Date: Fall 1996
Free/Fee: Payment or membership required
Reads: 4296
Abstract: We explore the tension between standardisation and flexibility in information infrastructure (II). In line with other accounts of large technical systems, we describe how the geographically dispersed, yet highly inter-connected nature of an II accumulates resistance against changes. Still, we argue that in II design one has to anticipate and prepare for changes, even substantial ones, if the II shall survive. An II contains huge numbers of components. Most of them alternate between standardisation and change throughout their lifetime. These components are interdependent: one is changed while others have to remain stable and vice versa. We discuss theoretical concepts for framing these aspects of an II. The empirical underpinning of our paper is a study of two existing, embryonic manifestations of II.
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