John Lamp's IS Pages
Dr. John Lamp
School of Information and Business Analytics
Tel: +61 3 5227 2110
Office location: ad3.113, Geelong Waterfront Campus
Researcher Id: A-3227-2008
ORCID ID: orcid.org/0000-0003-1891-0400
A brief CV
I came to academia late in life after an apparently random working life as a cinema projectionist, printer, editor, broadcaster, public servant
and union official.
When I look back on it the central thread has been one of information. Information in many forms, prepared using many techniques, delivered to differing numbers of people, to be used in different ways.
In 1994, I began to keep track of information systems journals, which resulted in the creation of the
Index of Information Systems Journals which has been in continuous operation
since then. It was only logical that when the Excellence in Research for Australia project came along, that I would be entangled in the
journal ranking and analysis side of it.
The need to categorise the journals in the Index lead to research into the way people perceive and categorise information.
To undertake that I have been using the literary ontology of Roman Ingarden and Boisot's Social Learning Cycle. The resulting thesis was awarded the 2012 ACPHIS medal for the Best Australian IS PhD Thesis. Here's a tag cloud of the thesis:
Selected Academic Activities
- Australasian Journal of Information Systems, Editor in Chief
- Conference Chair, Australasian Conference on Information Systems 2012
- Australasian Journal of Information Systems, Senior Editor
- Australasian Journal of Information Systems, Editorial Board member
- Chief Information Officer, Australasian Council of Professors and Heads of Information Systems
John Lamp's Popular Publications
Lamp J.W. (2014) "Categorisation"
The Research Whisperer, https://theresearchwhisperer.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/categorisation/
There are some fundamental problems with the Australian and New Zealand
Standard Research Classification Field of Research (ANZFoR) codes. So fundamental,
that we really need to stop and go back to first principles
Lamp J.W. (2014) "Crime and punishment must keep up with the Information Economy"
The Conversation, http://theconversation.com/crime-and-punishment-must-keep-up-with-the-information-economy-28856
The cost in terms of the activities used to gain information is negligible compared to the
value of the information to which the perpetrators can gain access. The perception of the loss involved in such activities
has to shift to the value of information obtained. This change will more accurately reflect the loss that the victim has suffered.
John Lamp's Academic Publications
Lamp J.W. & S.K. Milton (2012) "The social life of categories: An empirical study of term categorization."
Applied Ontology, 7(4), pp449-470
Most classification schemes in common use are actually categorization schemes which fall somewhere on a continuum between unstructured, uncontrolled lists of terms and formal classifications. Over time, terms change meaning and acquire new definitions. This paper presents the results of an approach that used the librarianship principle of consensus to form categories of terms and to relate those categories using a domain reference group. Boisot's Social Learning Cycle (SLC) was then used as a model with which to explain category variations. The single study undertaken in this investigation demonstrated the value of the SLC for explaining the variations between reference group members, and showed the potential for explaining category changes over time. This identifies areas in which consensus is breaking down or emerging, allowing for focused maintenance of categorical schemes. Applied Ontology website
Lamp J.W. & J. Fisher (2010) "ERA Distribution of Information Systems Journals"
Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 16(2), pp5-17
The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative being conducted by the Australian
Research Council (ARC), mandates a single journal and conference ranking scheme over every academic
discipline in Australia. A universal publication outlet ranking list mandated by a government agency
is unique and has attracted interest and comment both within Australia and overseas. Equally, the
interest shown has come from all sectors involved in academic publishing - authors, reviewers,
publishers - and from commercial and open access publishers. This paper investigates the
distribution of information systems journals over the various ERA parameters and comments on a
claim of bias whereby the ranking of a journal is positively influenced by the number of years
it has been in existence in the areas of information systems and business journals. Clear evidence
of the diversity of the information systems discipline is observed. The benefits of a multidisciplinary
foundation for information systems is also noted. Longer established journals are shown to attract higher
rankings and possible reasons for and implications flowing from this are discussed.
Lamp J.W. (2009) "Journal ranking and the dreams of academics"
Online Information Review, 33(4), pp827-830
The purpose of this article is to review and comment on the Australian Government's
entry into the journal ranking domain. It provides a review and reflection on the approach and potential impact of
the direction taken. This project is arguably the largest of its type and the effects on academic publishing and
the survival of journals could be far reaching. The article draws together current material on the Australian Government's
activities and provides details of the scope of the journal ranking project.
Fisher J, Shanks, G & Lamp J.W. (2009) "A Ranking List for Information Systems Journals: Addendum March 2008"
Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 15(2), pp5-6
Since Fisher, Shanks, & Lamp (2007) was written and published further work has been
undertaken on the development of the Australian Information Systems Journal and Conference
Rankings list. More details became available late in 2007 on the DEST requirements relating to
journal and conference rankings for the RQF. A newly installed Federal Government resulted in the
abandonment of the RQF, replaced with ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia). It was
therefore appropriate to provide an update of the revised Ranking list and the process undertaken to
arrive at the updated list. Although the RQF in its current form has been abandoned, ERA also
requires a ranked journal list.
Fisher J, Shanks, G & Lamp J.W. (2007) "A Ranking List for Information Systems Journals"
Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 14(2), pp5-18
There has been an increasing focus internationally on the quality and impact
of research outputs in recent years. Several countries, including the United Kingdom and New
Zealand have implemented schemes to base the funding of research on research quality. The Australian government is planning to implement a Research Quality Framework (RQF) in the
next few years that will impact greatly on funding of research in Australian universities.
A key issue for Australian researchers is how the quality and impact of research is defined
and measured in their discipline areas. Although peer review is widely used to assess the
quality of research outputs, it is expensive and labour intensive. Other surrogate quality
measures are often used. This paper focuses on measuring the quality of research outputs
in the information systems discipline. We argue that measures such as citation indexes are
inappropriate for information systems and that the publication outlet is a more suitable indicator of quality. We present a ranking list of journals for the information systems
discipline, and discuss the approach we have taken in developing the list. We discuss
how the ranking list may be used in defining and measuring the quality of information systems
research outputs, the limitations inherent in the approach and discuss lessons we have
learned in developing the list.
Lamp J.W. (2007) "Perceptions of Gender Balance of IS Journal Editorial Positions"
Communications of the AIS, 20, pp124-133
An analysis of 18,854 editorial positions on IS journals was undertaken to
examine the perceived gender balance of those positions as an indication of their contribution
towards a positive role model for females considering an IS academic career. The nature and
extent of perceived gender balance is examined in terms of overall composition of editorial
positions, journal prestige and the specific area within IS covered by a journal. The results
indicate that perceived gender balance of editorial positions reflects that of ICT academia
generally, and that female representation appears to be concentrated in journals covering
areas that are traditionally seen as female occupations eg health, education, librarianship.
As such, little or no encouragement is given to females considering an IS academic career.
Lamp J.W. (2006) "Recognition as a distinguishing characteristic of IS journals"
Australasian Journal of Information Systems, Vol 13 No 2, pp7-16
The number of journals publishing information systems (IS) research has grown
dramatically over the past few decades. This has resulted in an environment where authors
have a wider choice of journals in which to place articles. Electronic journals are now as
readily recognised by authorities as print journals. This paper provides firm evidence in
support of the assertion that the number of journals publishing IS research have increased.
The paper also examines the Australian context where the selection of a journal in which to
place an article is influenced by recognition from the Department of Education Science and
Training (DEST). In Australia, obtaining DEST recognition as a recognised research journal
is not an onerous task, and yet a significant number of IS journals have not done this.
Publishing in a DEST recognised journal is essential for Australian researchers to contribute
to their organisation's research quantum and hence research funding. Attention is drawn to an
increasing number of IS journals not recognised by DEST, and consequent action is recommended.
Lamp J.W. (2001) "The Code Red Epidemic: a Case Study" Journal
of Research and Practice in Information Technology, Vol 33 No 3, pp
An analysis of log files from an immune World Wide Web server
was used to discover the patterns of infection from the Code Red worm variants.
Analogies are drawn to biological systems. The need for protection is commented
Nguyen, L., Lamp, J. W., and van der Klooster, M. (2010), "Simulated business analysis in an e-commerce project",
Flexible education futures: partnering for collaborative and active learning, Deakin Teaching and Learning Conference 2010, Deakin University, Burwood, Vic.
Lamp, J. W. and S. K. Milton (2008) "Generating an ontology from scientific works: initial results",
Proceedings of the Nineteenth Australasian Conference on Information Systems, Annette Mills & Sid Huff [eds], University of Christchurch.
Attempts to produce adequate and long-lived subject indexes of information systems and computer science
research have failed. In this paper we report preliminary results of an approach by which the terms expressed in
research literature, such as that in information systems, can be systematically and meaningfully categorised. The
approach is based on Roman Ingarden's ontological theory of the written scholarly work: its nature, existence,
and categorisation, and builds on Grounded Theory: a rigorous grounded qualitative research method
addressing how meaningful categories can be analysed from text and related to each other. We have found that
the key guiding unit of analysis operationalising Ingarden's approach through Grounded Theory is the "reported
research activity" and that the process is possible although labour intensive. On the basis of using the approach,
we propose simple steps to improve the quality of keywords in reported research.
Lamp, J. W., S. K. Milton, L. Dawson and J. Fisher (2007) "RQF Publication Quality Measures: Methodological Issues",
Proceedings of the Eighteenth Australasian Conference on Information Systems, University of Southern Queensland, 478-486
The Research Quality Framework uses Thomson-ISI citation benchmarks as its main set of objective measures of research quality.
The Thomson-ISI measures rely on identifying a core set of journals in which the major publications for a discipline are to be found. The core
for a discipline is determined by applying a non-transparent process that is partly based on Bradford's Law (1934). Yet Bradford was not
seeking measures about quality of publications or journals. How valid then is it to base measures of publication quality on Bradford's Law?
We explore this by returning to Bradford's Law and subsequent related research asking "what is Bradford's Law really about?" We go further,
and ask "does Bradford's Law apply in Information Systems?" We use data from John Lamp's internationally respected Index of Information
Systems Journals to explore the latter question. We have found that Information Systems may have a core of journals only a subset of
which is also in the list of Thomson-ISI journals. There remain many unanswered questions about the RQF metrics based on Thomson-ISI and
their applicability to information systems.
Lamp, J. W. and Milton, S. K. (2007) "Grounded Theory As Foundations For Methods In Applied Ontology", Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Qualitative Research in IT & IT in Qualitative Research (QualIT), Victoria University of Wellington
Research into domain specific ontologies is difficult to treat empirically. This is because it is difficult to ground domain ontology while simultaneously being true to its guiding philosophy or theory. Further, ontology generation is often introspective and reflective or relies on experts for ontology generation. Even those relying on expert generation lack rigour and tend to be more ad-hoc. We ask how Grounded Theory can be used to generate domain specific ontologies where appropriate high level theory and suitable textual data sources are available. We are undertaking generation of a domain ontology for the discipline of information systems by applying the Grounded Theory method. Specifically we are using Roman Ingarden's theory of scientific works to seed a coding family and adapting the method to ask relevant questions when analysing rich textual data. We have found that a guiding ontological theory, such as Ingarden's, can be used to seed a coding family giving rise to a viable method for generating ontologies for research. This is significant because Grounded Theory may be one of the key methods for generating ontologies where substantial uniform quality text is available to the ontologist. We also present our partial analysis of information systems research.
Lamp, J. W. and Milton, S. K. (2007) "Indexing Research: An Approach to Grounding Ingarden's Ontological Framework", in Hart, D. and Gregor, S.
(eds) Information Systems Foundations: Theory, Representation and Reality, Canberra Australia, ANU E-Press, 115-132
Attempts to produce an adequate and long-lived subject indexing of information systems
research have failed. In this paper we seek to address this by proposing an approach by which the terms
expressed in research literature, such as that in information systems, can be systematically and
meaningfully categorised. The approach is significant in that it draws upon rigorous and philosophically
compatible bodies of work in two areas. Firstly, from work addressing the nature, existence, and
categorisation of literary expression found in research papers (Roman Ingarden's ontological analysis of
the scientific work of art). Secondly, from qualitative research methods addressing how meaningful
categories can be analysed from text and related to each other (Grounded Theory). The resulting approach
has potential to be applied in many scientific disciplines beyond information systems and form the
intellectual core of an information tool in e-Research.
Dallman, S., L. Nguyen, J. W. Lamp & J. Cybulski (2005) "Contextual Factors Which In
fluence Creativity in Requirements
Engineering", Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS2005), Regensburg, Germany.
In many disciplines, creativity has been recognised as an important part of problem solving.
In business, creativity enables the generation of better solutions and provides an opportunity
to gain a competitive advantage. In Information Systems (IS) creativity assists developers in
finding solutions to difficult problems by helping to efficiently utilise available resources and
allows the more effective planning and running of complex projects. One of the most
important aspects of IS development is Requirements Engineering (RE), the development
activity aimed at understanding the needs and wants of IS customers. While previous RE
researchers suggested that creativity is crucial in building high quality information systems,
fostering creative outcomes in RE is difficult as it is affected by the multifaceted socioorganisational
context within which IS development commonly takes place. This paper
reports findings from an empirical study into creativity in RE. Specifically, it reports various
contextual factors which were found to influence the creativity of individuals and their teams.
Lamp JW and Milton SK (2004) "The Reality of Information Systems Research", in Hart, D. and Gregor, S.
(eds) Information Systems Foundations: Constructing and Criticising, Canberra Australia,
ANU E-Press, 25-34
The examination of a practical issue with a web site has lead directly to the
consideration of the need for, and impact of, an approach based on fundamental theories of
"what is" to examine what information systems research is and the relations of the component
areas of endeavour. This paper presents an examination of the use of the philosophical field
of ontologies, and specifically the use of the ontological approaches upon which to base
categories of information systems research activities. This theoretical analysis is intended
to be used as the basis from which to develop a methodology to undertake the development of
the categorial scheme.
Lamp J.W. and Milton S.K. (2003) "An Exploratory Study of Information Systems Subject Indexing"
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS2003), Perth
Australia, Edith Cowan University
The motivation for detailed study of information systems research subject indexing schemes
is explained, along with an analysis of two indexing schemes proposed for use in the area. A number of
reference disciplines are examined for their ability to provide insights and analysis approaches.
Lamp J.W., Altmann G. and Hetherington T. (2003) "Functional-Group Conflict in Information Systems
Development" Proceedings of the Fourteenth Australasian Conference on Information Systems
(ACIS2003), Perth Australia, Edith Cowan University
This paper discusses how interpersonal conflict between IS developers and clients can
disrupt IS projects. It is suggested how potential problems can be avoided by getting the 'soft' factors
right which can lead to improvements in information systems development (ISD) processes. However little
is being done in most organisations to review success from this perspective. Measurement of ISD quality
tends to favour the product rather than the human drivers that influence the development of the product.
Several ideas are put forward that can be used to resolve conflict and to better involve stakeholders
in the ISD process.
Retzer S., Fisher J. and Lamp J.W. (2003) "Information Systems and Business Informatics: an Australian
German Comparison" Proceedings of the Fourteenth Australasian Conference on Information Systems
(ACIS2003), Perth Australia, Edith Cowan University
At last year's ACIS conference in Melbourne a panel titled 'IS: A discipline in crisis'
discussed issues relating to be in disability of IS in Australia. It is not, however, just the Australian
IS discipline that must deal with problems such as the need for better organisational structures and greater
visibility in universities. This paper presents a comparison between the German Business Informatics
discipline and the Australian Information Systems discipline. The objective is to provide another
perspective on the IS discipline to raise new ideas and stimulate discussion with reference to the
organisational structure of our discipline in universities.
Lockwood C. and Lamp J.W. (2000). "Enhancing interpersonal skills in
Information Technology Projects" Proceedings of the 4th World
Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, International
Institute of Informatics and Systemics, USA Vol X pp164-167
Many project courses emphasise technical issues and neglect the
interpersonal and human issues involved in software development projects.
Employers value graduates who have good communication, negotiation and conflict
resolution skills and are able to function well in a team environment. This
paper describes a highly successful and innovative final year Information
Technology Project course which is focussed on the people and the clients
involved in projects. The large project team (approximately 14 to 18 students)
is highly structured and team members take on all of the roles likely to be
encountered in the workplace.
Lamp J.W. and Lockwood C. (2000) "Creating a Realistic Experience of an
IS Project: The Team of Teams Approach" in Khosrowpour M [ed] Challenges of Information Technology Management in the 21st Century: Proceedings of the 2000 IRMA
International Conference, Idea Group Publishing, USA pp737-740
This paper describes a final year project course that has been
provided at the University of Tasmania and at Deakin University. The technique
used has been called the team of teams approach. Unlike many project courses
that emphasise the technical issues this course is more evenly focussed on the
people involved in the project and the client. Students are formed into
relatively large teams of between 9 and 16 and tackle a challenging, realistic
project during a single semester.
Lamp J.W. and Goodwin C. (1999) "Using Computer Mediated Communications to
Enhance the Teaching of Team Based Project Management" Proceedings
of the 10th Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS99),
Wellington New Zealand, pp484-494, Victoria University at Wellington.
The teaching of project management using a team of teams
approach was developed at the University of Tasmania and has met with
considerable success. In 1998 this technique was introduced, modified for local
requirements, at Deakin University. The opportunity to incorporate the use of
the computer mediated communications system, which was implemented by Deakin to
support their off-campus students, in this on-campus unit was taken. This paper
reports on the success of this program and the lessons learned from it.
Lamp J.W. (1998) "Using Petri Nets to Model Weltanschauung Alternatives
in Soft Systems Methodology", Proceedings of the Third Australian
Conference on Requirements Engineering, pp91-100, Geelong, Australia
Soft Systems Methodology is often criticised as lacking
rigorous tools. In this paper, an outline of Soft Systems Methodology and Petri
Nets is given. Petri Nets are then explored as a formal tool for the
description and amalgamation of weltanschauung alternatives at the conceptual
Keen C.D., Lockwood C.A. and Lamp J.W. (1998) "A Client-focussed, Team-of-Teams Approach to
Software Development Projects", Proceedings Software Engineering:
Education & Practice (SE:E&P'98), Dunedin, pp 34-41, IEEE
Computer Society Press
This paper describes an innovative and very successful final
year project course that has been provided in the Department of Computer
Science over the past four years. Students are formed into relatively large
teams of 16 and tackle a challenging, realistic project during a single
semester. Unlike many computer science project courses that emphasise the
technical issues, to the detriment of the end-user, this course is focussed on
the people involved in the project and the client. The project team is highly
structured and team members take on all of the roles that one is likely to
encounter in projects in the workplace.
Keen C.D. and Lamp, J.W. (1997) "The New Directions Statement and the
Tasmanian Electronic Commerce Centre", Proceedings of the First
Annual CollECTeR Workshop on Electronic Commerce, pp6-14, Adelaide
On the 10th of April 1997 the Premier of Tasmania, the
Honourable Mr Tony Rundle MHA, made a speech to the Tasmanian Chamber of
Commerce and Industry in which he delivered what has become known as the New
Directions Statement. A significant element of thi s speech was the
establishment of the Tasmanian Electronic Commerce Centre. This paper reports
on the development of the proposal for the TECC, and the approach which will be
taken by the TECC in developing and promoting the use of electronic commerce in
Keen C.D. and Lamp, J.W. (1997) "Appropriate Policy Enforcement through the
use of Network Information Brokers", PACIS'97 proceedings of the 3rd
Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems, pp57-64, Brisbane
The rapid growth of the Internet and the ease with which
information can be provided via such services as the World Wide Web has created
a publication and information dissemination network with a highly chaotic
component. It is questionable whether the current practices, services and tools
will be sufficiently scalable to provide effective and efficient search and
retrieval capabilities. This paper proposes the concept of the Network
Information Broker (NIB) as a highly adaptable organisational unit, through
which some order, quality assurance and scalability can be introduced into the
Internet. The development of an NIB is part of a larger research project which
will also consider the implementation and impact of the NIB.
Lamp, J.W. (1997) "The Internet: A Business Decision",
International AirConditioning and Refrigeration Conference
Proceedings, Hobart Australia
The Internet is widely touted as the technological marvel of
the 1990s, and writers in the popular press insist that all businesses should
be making immediate plans to exploit this new medium. When questioned a little
more closely, however, their expectations of what businesses can achieve by
this, tend to degenerate into positive sounding generalities and technical
jargon which provides no help for a person trying to discover what meaningful
advantages the use of the Internet can offer their business.
In this paper, a description of the Internet is offered, and significant
activities which can be enabled by use of the Internet¹s services are
examined. Weaknesses of the Internet are also noted, and current developments
such as Internet II are described. Business can make use of the Internet,
however, such a decision should be made on a commercial, rather than a
Urquhart, C.; Perez, A.; Rhoden, C.; Lamp, J.W. (1996) "Professional Skills Teaching in the IS Curriculum: Issues
of Content, Delivery and Assessment", Proceedings of the Australian
Information Systems Curriculum Working Conference, pp173-184,
This paper looks at the reasons for including Professional
Skills in the IS Curriculum and examines the experiences at the University of
Melbourne in outsourcing their Professional Skills Program (PSP). It also draws
on the experiences at the University of Tasmania where a Professional
Development Unit (PDU) was first initiated at undergraduate level in 1995.
Issues of content, IS context, modes of delivery and assessment are discussed
with regard to the PSP.
Lamp, J.W.; Keen C.D.; Urquhart, C. (1996)
"Integrating Professional Skills into the Curriculum"
Proceedings of the First Australasian Conference on Computer Science
Education, Sydney, Australia, pp 309-316
The need for the teaching of professional skills to
undergraduates in areas such as communications, team work, conflict resolution,
and ethics has for some time been articulated by the information systems
profession. These skills are particularly required by information systems
graduates. Changes to the traditional systems development life cycle towards
use of package software, prototyping, distributed computing, JAD etc have all
placed a further demand on interpersonal skills as opposed to technical skills.
While this need has been recognised by some universities, there have been a
number of approaches to the incorporation of these skills into the teaching
programme. This paper describes how professional skills teaching has been
introduced within the University of Tasmania's undergraduate programme.
Lakos, C.A.; Lamp, J.W.; Keen, C.D. and Marriott, B.W.
(1995) "Modelling Network Protocols with Object Petri Nets"
Proceedings of Workshop on Petri Nets Applied to Protocols,
Torino, Italy, pp31-42
This paper examines how object-oriented extensions to the Petri
net formalism can address a number of issues in the modelling of network
protocols. The object-oriented extensions lead to the formalism of Object Petri
Nets, with a textual language form referred to as LOOPN++. The paper considers
practical examples for which clean, well-structured models can be created
because of the support for modularity, genericity, software reuse, and mobile
Lamp, J.W. (2004). Index of Information Systems Journals. Geelong,
Deakin University. [Online] Available: http://lamp.infosys.deakin.edu.au/journals/
The Index of Information Systems Journals is an online
book published by Deakin University which provides information on and links to journals
publishing information systems research.
Keller, S. & J.W. Lamp (2010) "Open Source: Solution to the Information Systems Capstone Course Dilemma?" in Browning, J.B. (ed.) Open-Source Solutions in Education: Theory and practice, Informing Science Press, Santa Rosa, California, pp107-130
Lamp, J.W. (2007) "The portal as information broker" in Tatnall, A. (ed.)
Encyclopedia of Portal Technologies and Applications, Information Science Reference, Hershey pp705-711
Lakos C.A. & Lamp J.W. (1999) "The Incremental Modelling of the Z39.50
Protocol with Object Petri Nets" in Billington J, Diaz, M and Rozenberg G
(eds) Advances in Petri Nets: Application of Petri Nets to Communication
Networks LNCS 1605, Springer-Verlag Berlin pp37 - 68
This paper examines how object-oriented extensions to the Petri
Net formalism provide flexible structuring primitives which can aid the
modelling of network protocols. A key benefit is the support for incremental
modelling. As a result, a protocol can be modelled as a collection of services,
each of which can be expressed as the enhancement of a basic service, in which
case, both the structure of the basic service and the nature of the enhancement
can be clearly identified. More importantly, the evolution of a protocol
through a sequence of standards can be expressed by progressive refinements.
The object-oriented extensions are captured in the formalism of Object Petri
Nets, with a textual language form referred to as LOOPN++, both of which are
introduced in this paper. The incremental modelling capabilities and their
benefits are demonstrated for the Z39.50 Protocol for Information Retrieval.
Lamp, J.W. (2011) Information categorisation: an emergent approach University of Melbourne
The explosion of information and of naive users on the
Internet has highlighted problems of effective access to information. One response to
the problem of effective access to information is to classify the information into
categories based on the nature of the information being classified. Existing information
classifications are typically developed by committees or imposed by organisations and
have proved difficult to maintain. This investigation developed a two phase method to
systematically determine and analyse information categories in a specific domain as
perceived by domain experts. The initial phase, the Term Extraction Phase, applied the
librarianship approach of literary warrant guided by Ingarden's Ontology of Literature
to research papers from a specific domain to discover what is studied in the domain.
The approach is significant in that it draws upon rigorous and philosophically compatible
bodies of work in two areas. Firstly, from work addressing the nature, existence, and
categorisation of literary expression found in research papers. Secondly, from qualitative
research methods addressing how meaningful terms can be analysed in text and related to
each other. We have found that such a guiding ontological theory can be used to seed
coding families giving rise to a viable method for generating categorisations for further
research. We have also found that the key guiding unit of analysis operationalising
Ingarden's approach is the "reported research activity" and that the process is
practical although labour intensive. The second phase, the Term Categorisation Phase,
used the librarianship approach of consensus to have domain experts form categories
from the terms generated in the first phase. Examining those categories using pairwise
comparisons allowed the identification of similar categories based on the common
categorisation of terms in the coding family. The pairwise comparisons were undertaken
manually, but the development of an automated tool to perform these comparisons would
enhance this aspect of the phase. Boisot's Social Learning Cycle (SLC) was used as a
model with which to explain category variations. The single performance of the Term
Categorisation Phase undertaken in this investigation demonstrated the value of the
SLC for explaining the variations between domain experts, and showed the potential
for explaining category changes over time using the SLC and repeated performances of
the Term Categorisation Phase. This investigation makes a number of contributions.
The investigation demonstrated that the two librarianship approaches of literary
warrant and consensus are not necessarily mutually exclusive and that both have
much to offer at different stages of the categorisation process. A method was
devised which provides a more rigorous and systematic approach to analysing and
categorising text. The method consists of two phases which are loosely coupled and
could be used independently. A very significant aspect is the ability to view
categorisation as a dynamic process. That enables the examination of categorisation
and classification schemes and for the identification of areas within those schemes
which require attention. The method is not a tool to develop a complete classification
scheme, but seeks to contribute insights on how to progress the development of mature schemes.
Lamp, J.W. (1994) Encoding the ANSI Z39.50 Search and Retrieval Protocol
using LOOPN University of Tasmania
An Honours thesis which examines the Z39.50 protocol together
with a methodology for expressing it in Petri nets. Advantages and difficulties
of the LOOPN expression are noted.