The notion of information infrastructures, introduced in the 1990s and refined during the past ten years, has proven quite fruitful to the IS field. It changed the perspective from organizations to networks and from systems to infrastructures, allowing for a global and emergent perspective on information systems. However, something is missing in this theory. What is an information infrastructure, ontologically? Is it a technical structure, an organizational form, an analytical perspective or a semantic network?

This paper reviews the socio-technical origins of information infrastructures. Two propositions are described and discussed. First, that it is fruitful to regard information infrastructure as an ICT-based organizational form. Second, a critical realist view allows us to conceptualise the object of study in a simpler and more intuitive way. A case study of an airline company and a reinterpretation of Star and Ruhleder’s classic paper were used to illustrate the claims.