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Abstract

A research program around the idea that information systems represent real-world systems was started almost twenty years ago. The program started by Wand and Weber is still going strong with a significant amount of research inspired by them and is one of the few instances incremental foundational research in Information Systems. Much of this research is being undertaken in Australia, and its influence has spread far and wide. Wand and Weber have used ontology, a discipline with roots in two thousand years of philosophy, to drive empirical work into how well information systems represent reality. In this paper the inspiration and progress of the program of research followed over the past two decades is described. The research program has recently progressed from its roots examining information systems development to examine enterprise systems and other package solutions. Further, it is beginning now to more fully use the depth of ontological theory available. However, there are challenges in how Bunge’s ontology has been used and opportunities for using complementary ontologies and for different conceptualisations of information systems.

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