The Past, Present and Future of the Information Systems Discipline

Track Description

“A generation, which ignores history, has no past – and no future” – Robert Heinlein

History and its study are important for us all and no less so for the IS discipline in considering its past, present and future. Panels on Information Systems (IS) History are planned for ECIS 2013, PACIS 2013 and AMCIS 2013, and it is also likely there will be a panel at ICIS 2013. The AIS has recently appointed an official historian, Professor Ping Zhang from Syracuse University who is moderator for these panels. Two of these panels focus on IS as it has developed in different regions and on how IS histories can or should be told.

The March issue for the Journal of Information Technology is devoted to the History of IS. In the editorial, Bryant and his co-authors comment about historiography, the study of how historical studies are carried out and reported They note that there is little guidance about historiography for, or from, the IS discipline, Mitev and De Vaujany (2012) being a notable exception.

ACIS has on more than one occasion been a forum for discussion about the future of IS as a discipline, and past conference themes have focused on its identity, its evolution, its impact and indeed its “coming of age”. Back in 2006, the Australasian Journal of Information Systems (vol 14 no 1) ran a special feature on the information systems discipline in Australia to which many of our most well-known and respected IS colleagues in Australia contributed. It may well again be time for us to join this conversation about IS history.

Relevant Topics

This track calls for contributions about IS history with a very broad scope.

For example, the IS discipline has a long history of questioning its own existence. There are regular flurries of discussion and debate in forums ranging from use-groups to conferences to learned journals.

Methods for conduct of historical research related to IS matters are clearly of relevance as would be historical accounts of a whole range of aspects relevant to the IS community and in particular to the IS community in Australasia.

Track Chairs and Contact Details

Professor Mark Toleman, University of Southern Queensland, Australia (

See also…

School of Business IT and Logistics
The School of Business IT and Logistics provides high quality technical and professional education in: Business Information and Communications Technology, in Information Management and Librarianship and in Logistics and Supply Chain Management education within a comprehensive business context – ensuring the employability of its graduates.