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Abstract

As we enter the 21st Century, we are confronted by waves of new technology and pressured by competitive forces to find the most effective and efficient uses of information systems (IS)in organizations. Periodically, it is useful to stand back and take a look at the IS field from a variety of perspectives. These perspectives create "images" of IS that offer the potential of generating new insights into the field as it moves forward. These "images" are created through the lens of metaphors. Metaphors have been used in IS to help explain many of its central concepts from systems development methodologies to human-computer interaction. This paper describes five metaphors for the field of IS itself. From these metaphors a set of challenges for IS researchers and practitioners is proposed.

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