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Communications of the ACM

A metamodel of information flow: a tool to support information systems theory


In this paper an axiomatic, fundamental metamodel of data flow is constructed. The components of the metamodel are the states along the flow of data: physical events, language (data), stored data, human data processing, and decision making. Transfers from one state to another are performed by functions: coding, keying, processing, perceptions, and human acting. The entire flow is evaluated by a value function. Each of the states and functions is rigorously described by means of definitions, axioms, and theorems. The main purpose of the metamodel is to provide a common framework for various models in MIS and consequently to remedy the "Tower of Babel" syndrome prevailing in this area. The way the metamodel can be used to develop other models in MIS is explained in the last part of the paper.

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