Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Insightful histories of an academic field can only be written when there is sufficient raw material to serve as “grist for the mill” for historians. This is the first task for those who are monumentally interested in preserving the origins of a field from the ravages of time is to collect artifacts—written, verbal, visual, and physical—that can later be used in historical inquiries. But the critical perspective to know what to collect and how much to collect is served by historiography, the science that elaborates on the variety of methods and procedures that historians use. A simple but incomplete set of these variations include: political history, intellectual history, cultural history, and social history. Each of these viewpoints brings with it a different set of assumptions about what is important and, although there is considerable overlap among them, each brings a different set of requirements for artifactual evidence. Historiography should not be overlooked when the field of information systems begins an all-out effort to collect data about the history of the field.