The Information System Description

The Information System Description

Information System Description Framework Aitken & Knight v6.0 29/3/2018 Introduction The Information System Description Framework (ISDF) is a step by step framework we use in ISYS1000 to learn how to describe an Information System (IS). We describe the information system using information system related vocabularies and processes. This document is designed to help students understand the steps and vocabulary involved in the ISDF. Before we start looking at the steps involved with describing an IS using the ISDF, we should understand a few information systems concepts. Below is a series of statements which might not make a lot of sense the first time you read them, but keep returning to the list as you begin to understand, work through and complete your assignment for ISYS1000. Use the list iteratively (i.e., revisit and read multiple times) to consider whether youve conceptualised and described aspects of your chosen IS correctly. ISDF Concepts Here is a quick introduction to some of the concepts in the IS description framework (ISDF): The ISDF involves conceptualising an IS in a way where we describe and document the IS using text and diagrams. An IS may process information. An IS may also store and retrieve information. An information system has inputs that submit information into the information system. Inputs may come from people (users) or from external information systems or technologies (also users). An information system produces outputs. Outputs may go to people (users) or to external information systems (also users). An information system has a system boundary that, for the purposes of the ISDF, defines what is inside and what is outside of the information system being described. Information processors are those components of an IS that perform tasks such as information processing (i.e. processing of information) inside the IS being described. Information processing occurs inside the IS and can be performed by people, machines, computers, software, and/or databases. Information stores are those components of an IS that retrieve and/or store information inside the IS. Information storage can be done, for example, using paper, folders, filing cabinets, computer files and databases, depending on the IS being described. Communication (or information) networks are components of an IS that can transfer information from one point of the IS to another. Information can be transferred, for example, directly in person, by foot, by post, by computer networks, and by telephone networks. The ISDF involves a textual description as well as a graphical representation (i.e. diagrams) of the IS and these two methods of description complement each other. Information processors (for e.g., ICT/software or people) are active entities in that they do something, that is, they process information. Whereas information stores (for e.g., a databases or filing cabinet) are passive entities/objects in they have dont do anything on their own. For example, a computer [processor] can run a query and can write (i.e. insert) and/or read from a database [store], just as people write on and/or read [processor] from paper [store] or filing cabinets [store]. Communication (or information) networks in IS connect information processors, which may send information across the network, or to one another network. Communication is between two information processors. Information processors can also read and write to information stores, and information flows across this connection but it is usually not a labelled computer network. We show connections between information processors and information stores to show which stores they interact with. Inputs flow into information systems from other information systems across networks (of many different types) and information flows out of information systems to other information systems across networks (of many different types). These are called external networks to differentiate them from the internal networks between information processors within the information system. Information Systems Description Framework To describe an information system we follow a simple step by step framework that allows us to break the task down and, hopefully, make it easier for us. In short the five (5) steps are: 1. Provide a general description of the IS 2. Provide an external description of the IS 3. Provide an external view of the IS 4. Provide an internal description of the IS 5. Provide an internal view of the IS A template of the step by step framework is provided for students on Blackboard: See: ISYS1000.2018-1.Assignment.Template.dotx The instructions contained in the template document are mostly technical in nature and relate to the layout and presentation of your assignment. The steps detailed below are a conceptual description of the tasks involved with each step and sub-step involved in the framework. This document is essential reading and should be used in conjunction with the template and assignment outline, also provided on Blackboard: See: ISYS1000.2018-1.AssignmentOutline.pdf In particular the Marking Matrix/Criteria for ISYS1000 ISDF Assignment table contained in the Assignment Outline document, is helpful to read with the step-by-step description, as it outlines how each task/sub-task described below is marked in your assignment. NB: The examples used to illustrate the main points in the following steps are introduced in workshop 4 that of a voter-tracking/verification information system; and lecture 7 that of a user/customer withdrawing cash from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Step 1 Provide a General description of the information system The general description of the Information System is a high-level introduction to the IS being described. The tasks involved are as follows: 1.1 Title: Write a specific title that represents the IS you are describing. It should be as specific as possible, remembering in particular that for this assignment we are only describing relatively simple IS, or specific parts of larger IS. For e.g., the voter tracking information system scenario has been named various titles, including: Digital Voter Tracking Information System Electronic Voter Tracking System Digital Voter Verification Information System Voter Registration Information System 1.2 General Description: Describe the overall information processing, storage and functions of the information system. This should be both Specific: describing what actually happens in this IS, not all IS) and High level: focusing on the IS overall purpose or goal Fig 1: Four Examples of 1.2 General Description Assignment hints: Be specific, but succinct in your descriptions for 1.2 General Description. Do not start describing what an information system is, describe what this information system and how it will do what it is designed to do. The two biggest mistakes students make in this section is (1) they dont specifically describe their chosen system, and (2) they make this section far too long. So, get to the point and be specific but not too detailed. 1.3 Users and Uses: Name the users of your IS and describe what these users do. Assignment hints: Use the scenario description provided in the Assignment Scenarios document in Blackboard to help identify your users and uses. (1) Highlight the nouns in the scenario these are the Users (when they are external to the IS) and Information Processors (when they are internal to the IS). (2) Highlight the verbs (doing words) to help you identify the uses The Digital Voter Tracking Information System (DVTIS) is designed to record and store who has voted on any given election day. It is used at local polling stations, working similar to previous paper/file based systems in that when a voter arrives at a polling station, their eligibility to vote is checked via the electoral roll and they are recorded as having voted. Using the DVTIS means that a polling official at each local polling stations can: 1. Electronically search for and check a voters eligibility to vote (speeding up this process) 2. Electronically record that the voter has voted, feeding that information directly into a centralised database. The centralised DB is used by all the local polling stations, so once a voter has been given voted status, they will be unable to vote at any other polling station using the DVTIS. The digitised Voting Information System (DVTIS) allows for the tracking and verification of votes that are made on an election day. The DVTIS is a technological-based replacement to the paper-based analogue vote-tracking registry used at polling booths. It allows for a more streamlined and adaptive approach to vote tracking with an added measure of centralised consistency across all polling booth locations through the use of ICT. Once a voter arrives at a polling booth, they are able to give their details and an election official will search for their details, which once found can verify if the voter is eligible to vote, or even if they have already voted at a different location. The process allows for a form of logs and tracking in the instance of mistakes or attempted multiple votes. The Voter Verification Information System (VVIS) is designed to record when a voter has attended a polling station to vote in an election. Using a mobile device, an electoral official records and verifies a voters details, and then records they have voted into the national electoral roll database. Once a voter has been verified and acquired voted status, they cannot register to vote again. Electronic Voter Tracking System (EVTS) is used to replace the traditional voter tracking system using paper and pencil. The EVTS allows electoral official to verify a voters eligibility to vote, process a voters registration, and update voting status in the electoral database. Fig 2: Two Examples of 1.3 Users and Uses 1.3 Users and Uses The users of the information system and how they use/interact with the DVTIS include: Voter The voter arrives at a polling station with the purpose of casting a vote in the election. This process is called registration. Once registered, the voter is given ballot papers, goes and votes and then leaves the polling station a. Registration: The voter arrives and interacts with an election official in order to register to vote in the election b. Voted status: Once registered, the voter is given ballot papers so they can go and vote in the election. This action results in the DVTIS imposing a voted status to the voter within the information system. Election Official The election official uses the DVTIS to search for the voter on the electoral roll, register the voter to vote in the election, and then record the vote has taken place. a. Search Electoral Roll: The election official uses the DVTIS to search for the voter to verify that they are eligible to vote in the election. b. Registration: The election official registers the voter to vote. c. Apply Voted status: Once the official gives the voter a set of ballot papers they apply a voted status on the voter within the electoral roll database. This is a security protocol that will mean the voter is now unable to register/vote a second time at any other polling station. DVT Software The DVTIS (Digital Voter Tracking Information System) is designed to be the interface between the election official and the centralised Electoral Roll database. a. Logs-on: to the Electoral Roll database b. Searches: For the voter who has just arrived at the polling station c. Registers & Applies Voted Status: Once the official gives ballot papers to the voter, the voter is registered and classified as having voted. Electoral Roll Database The electoral roll database belongs to the Australian Federal Government. It holds the names, addresses and date-of-births of all Australians citizens legally enroled to vote. a. Receives a query: from the election officials device requesting the database search for a registered individual. b. Searches for the intending voter using the details supplied to the election official by the intended voter. c. Verification of voter: sends a result to the election officials device confirming (or not confirming) the existence of the intended voter and details regarding whether that voter has voted, or not yet voted today. 1.3 Users and Uses Voter The voter interacts with the DVTIS in order to verify their ability to vote at a polling booth. Once verified they are given their ballot papers in order to cast their vote a. . Voter Registration: The voter can give their personal details to the Election Official in order to verify their eligibility to vote. Election Official The Election Official is a system user who interacts directly with the Voter and the DVT Software in order to verify and confirm the status of voters. a. Voter Search: The Election Official uses the personal details given by the Voter to search for their records within the DVTIS. b. Voter Verification: The Election Official verifies whether the voter can vote or if they have already voted. c. Voter Update: The Election Official updates the details of the Voter to record they have been verified and received their ballot papers. This ensures they cannot vote again/anywhere else. DVT Software The DVT Software is a system user that runs on portable ICT devices used by the Election Officials in order to search for and verify voters, and to communicate with the Electoral Roll Database a. Voter Search: The DVT software receives and relays the desired queries from the Election Officials to the Electoral Roll Database. b. Entry Update: The DVT software receives and relays any desired changes to the tables of the Electoral Roll Database. This normally only takes form in applying a unique verification ID once a voter has been given their ballot papers. Electoral Roll Database The Electoral Roll Database is a system user that stores the records of all eligible Australian voters for the verification process of voting. a. Query response: The Electoral Roll Database receives, processes, and responds to queries/updates made by the DVT Software. 1.4 Instance: Find a real-word instant of this Information Systems. Assignment hints: (1) Find a REAL example. A general statement such as many doctors/GPs around the world have begun using online booking systems you will gain no marks for this. (2) Reference the example in your references list as well. Use your capacity as a university student to work out how your reference such resources as websites or software or apps. Using EndNote might be useful for this. (3) References must use APA style. Step 2 Provide an External description of the information system Provide a description of the inputs, outputs and system boundary of the IS. 2.1 Inputs: inputs are the actions that become data and travel through the IS. For example, while the VOTER is a user, the data that represents the Voter (as an input into the system) is the VOTERS DETAILS. Ask yourself: What inputs does each user provide to the information system (if any)? Fig 3: Two Examples of 2.1 Inputs 2.2 Outputs: outputs are the result(s) of the user having interacted with the IS. Ask yourself: What outputs does the information system provide to the users (if any)? Assignment hints: The biggest mistake students make in the input/output descriptions is that they name users as inputs and/or outputs. For example, a voter is not an input a voter is the user whose data which represents the voter moving through the IS is the input. So the input should be named something that represents the user. The output should be named the data that is the result of the various data having moved through the system. For example, in an electronic betting information system, the better/punter is a user, their details and (in particularly) their BET are the input. Keep in mind also that inputs and outputs are essentially separate entities and are not necessarily equal in number for each IS. For example, one input such as; an appointment request can result in multiple outputs such as; confirmation of booking text, alert/reminder text on day of appointment. The information system exists to find a voter, verify they are eligible to vote, and then register that they have voted. The Input to start this process then, is the voter via the unique details that trigger the information system to recognise the voter. The voter is considered external to the actual information system, and exists as an INPUT into the information system. 2.1 Inputs Voter Details A voter arrives at the polling station and must interact with an election official. The voters details are then Input into the information system a. INPUT 1: Voters Personal Details: The voter has personal details that uniquely identifies who they are. These inputs will include information such as: VOTERName VOTERAddress VOTERDateOfBirth The user is external to the system. The Election official is considered (conceptually) to be part of the actual system (i.e., internal). Once the voter provides their identifying details, the election official places the voters data into the system, and the information processes that occur after this are conceptualised as internal, rather than an input. The internal processes of the DVTIS will be presented and discussed in sections 4 and 5. 2.1 Inputs Voter Personal Details: The voter gives over their personal details in order to be verified by the DVTIS. a. Name The given name and family name of the voter. E.g. John Smith. b. Date of Birth The Date of Birth of the voter. E.g. 01/01/1981. c. Address The residential address of the voter. E.g. 123 Notfake Street, Someplace WA 1234. Fig 4: Two Examples of 2.2 Outputs 2.3 System Boundary: The Information system boundary is where we explicitly describe those components of the IS which are external (users) and internal (processors). The same as in the all steps involved in the ISDF, there is not necessarily only one correct way to conceptualise what is internal and what is external to the system, except to say that any object conceptualised as external is a user and their information is input into the system, while those objects conceptualised as internal are a processor or a store and their data that move internally through the IS are processes. Figure 6 illustrates this point. i.e., figure 6a conceptualises the ELECTION OFFICIAL as internal to the information system, while figure 6b conceptualises the ELECTION OFFICIAL as external to the information system. The impact of doing this is that in figure 6b the ELECTION OFFICIAL will input both VOTER DETAILS and ELECTION OFFICIAL DETAILS into the system. This means that the system has the capacity to match inputs into the system to specific election officials. This might be done as an information security measure. This also provides a way to more explicitly conceptualise the ICT DEVICE/SOFTWARE role in the internal process of querying the database. Fig 5: Conceptualising where the system boundary is 2.2 Outputs Registered Vote Once the voters details are entered into the information system, they go through a process of to verify the voter and officially record that they have registered to vote. These information processes occur within the information system and are considered Internal components of the IS. The output of this process is the successful registration to vote, and will include a number of attributes a. OUTPUT 1: Registered Vote: The system outputs a number of data consistent with the voter having successfully registered to vote: Unique Registration number Polling booth identifier Time, Date, location VOTERName, VOTERAddress Having the unique registration number affiliated with the specific voter now means that should the voter go to another polling station, they will be unable to vote since their Voter Details input will show they have already voted. 2.2 Outputs Voter Verification Confirmation: After the voter has been verified, they will receive a printed receipt for their future reference. a. Name The given name and family name of the voter. E.g. John Smith. b. Address The residential address of the voter. E.g. 123 Notfake Street, Someplace WA 1234. c.Verification ID A unique 16 character identifier which anchors the logging of their voting instance. E.g. 6358163516354163. d. Time The recorded time in which the verification takes place. E.g. 15:38. e. Date The date when the verification takes place. E.g. 11/11. f. Location The location of the polling booth where the voting takes place. E.g. Someplace, WA 1234. Figure 6a Figure 6b Fig 6: Two Examples of 2.3 System Boundary Step 3 Provide an External view of the information system Use the figure/diagram provided in the assignment template to draw a diagram that summarises and represents the information system you described in Step 2. Use a circle to represent the information system and use arrows going into the system to represent the inputs and arrows coming out of the system to represent the outputs Label the information system with its name or title Label the inputs with the name/role of the user (or other information system) that provides them and provide high-level names for the information the users provide Label the outputs with the name/role of the user or (or other information system) that receives them and provide high-level names for the information the users receive. Assignment hints: The biggest mistake students make with Step 3 of the assignment is when their diagram doesnt match their description in Step 2. Take the time to go over workshop 5s slides that provide some tips regarding how to use the template for the assignment. In particular be careful with how the diagram can mess-up some formatting when not used carefully. 2.3 System Boundary External Components The external components already named include the inputs associated with a Voters personal details, and the outputs are the data associated with linking a registered vote to the voters details, and the recording that the unique voter has voted. Internal Components The internal components include the Election official who uses a portable ICT device and the DVTIS software to query the Government Electoral Database. The Electoral database both verifies to the election official that voter is eligible to vote, and then registers a status for the individual voter so that they cannot vote again during the election. 2.3 System Boundary External Components Voter The voter is external to the IS as they directly input their personal information into the DVTIS for verification purposes. Internal Components Election Official The Election Official is internal to the IS as they directly interact with and process the Voters personal details. In doing so they interact with the DVT software and verify the Voter in doing so. DVT Software The DVT software is internal to the IS as it processes the requests of the Election Official and queries the Electoral Roll Database. Electoral Roll Database The Electoral Roll Database is an internal components as it acts as an information store and interacts with the other internal information processors to facilitate their actions using the details of potential voters in order to verify them. Fig 7: Two Examples of External View Step 4 Provide an internal description of the information system To understand how the IS will manage data flow through the system, it is helpful to conceptualise the users inside the system boundary as information processors and to think about where information (as data) stops and starts as the information stores. 4.1 Information Processors: Name the information processors inside the IS and describe the information processing that each of these processors does. Fig 8: Two Examples of 4.1 Information Processors Election Official The election official is non-computer processor. The electoral official interacts physically with the intending voter when the voter arrives at the Polling booth. It is the EOs job to check for eligibility, register and then accept the new voted status of the voter assuming everything goes according to plan. a. The Electoral Officer: Enters the intending voters personal details into the DVTIS software. The DVTIS software queries the Electoral Roll Database, using the voters details, so verify if the voter is eligible to vote. The Electoral Roll Database verifies the voters eligibility, providing this result to the DVTIS software on the EOs device. b. The Electoral Officer: Acknowledges the voters eligibility, giving them their voting forms. c. The Electoral Officer enters a finalised status into the DVTIS software, The DVTIS registers this finalised status into Electoral Roll Database, which makes the voter now ineligible to vote again in this election. Portable ICT Device The Portable ICT Device (any tablet device) is a computer/mechanised processor. It has the local DVTIS software installed. a. The Portable ICT Device is used to access the DVTIS software, which is used to interact with the Government Electoral Roll database. DVT IS Software The Digital Voter Tracking IS software is used by the electoral official to interact with the Government Electoral Database. a. The DVTIS software queries the Government Electoral Database. Using the Voters personal details, the DVTIS asks the Gov Electoral DB if the voter exists and is eligible to vote in the current election. The Electoral Database searches for verifies whether the voter is exists and is eligible to vote informs the DVTIS software that the voter eligible and the electoral official informs the voter they may vote b. The DVTIS sends a voted status registration to the Electoral Database, which changes the voters status in the Government Electoral Database to voted. Electoral Roll Database At the heart of the system is the Electoral Database a. The Electoral Db searches for the Voter using the voters personal details. b. The Electoral Database verifies whether the voter is exists and is eligible to vote. If the voter is not eligible: The Electoral Database informs the DVTIS software of the ineligibility and the electoral official informs the voter they are unable to vote. If the voter is eligible: The Electoral Database informs the DVTIS software that the voter eligible and the electoral official informs the voter they may vote. Electoral Official gives the appropriate voting papers to the voter and then enters into the DVTIS a confirmation that the voter has been given the papers and opportunity to vote. Election Official The Election Official is a non-computerised information processor. Their main application is to process the verification of a voters details, to check their eligibility, and to update their records once they have been verified. a. The Election Official enters the Voters personal details into the DVT software in order to verify whether the voter is eligible to vote. b. The Election Official notes the outcome of whether the voter is eligible to vote and advises the voter of their outcome. If the voter is eligible, the Election Official with give them their ballot papers. c. The election official updates the Electoral Roll Database by interacting with the DVT Software, assigning an automatically generated Verification ID to the voters instance within the database. This ensures they cannot vote again within this election period. Digitised Vote Tracking Software The DVT Software is a computerised information processor which relays requests and responses to and from the Election Official and the Electoral Roll Database, This software runs on a portable ICT device which affords the Election Officials mobility and broad reach. a. The DVT Software relays the queries of the Election Officials in order to facilitate the searching of Voters by their personal details. b. The DVT Software relays updates to a voters records on behalf of the Election Official once they have been successfully verified. 4.2 Information Stores: Name the information stores inside the IS and describe the specific information stored inside each of these stores. Fig 9: Two Examples of 4.2 Information Stores 4.3 Communication Networks: Identify any internal networks used to transfer information within the IS and then also any external networks used for information transfer as an input into and/or output from the IS. The description should describe the information and communication technologies (both computerised and/or non-computerised) that are used to implement the IS. Internal Communication Networks: These involve the processors, stores and processes described within the IS boundary. You should describe the type of communication and networking that takes place for these internal processes to occur. External Communication Networks: These involve the input(s) and output(s) functions of the IS. You should describe the type of communication and networking that takes place for these transactions to occur. Fig 10: Two Examples of 4.3 Communication Networks Most of the non-dynamic data is stored in the Electoral Database. Other data is stored during dynamic processes, in particular in any Transactional Processing within the DVTIS software on the Electoral Officials portable ICT device. Government Electoral Roll Database The Electoral Roll Database keeps a record of all eligible voters. It does this by keeping a record of data such as: a. VOTERName including Surname, first name and other names. b. VOTERAddress where the voter has registered their residential address c. VOTERDate of birth (year/month/day) The combination of VOTERName, VOTERAddress and VOTERDate of birth represent the unique identifier (Primary Key) of the voter. d. VOTERRegistrationID an imposed unique identifier that the DVTIS software applies to a voter in the Electoral Roll Database to record that the voter has voted and cannot vote again. Electoral Roll Database The Electoral Roll Database is a computerised information store. It stores the personal details of all eligible voters and fields to enable the verification and logging of a voter being given their ballot papers. This includes: a. Name The given name and family name of the voter. E.g. John Smith. b. Date of Birth The Date of Birth of the voter. E.g. 01/01/1981. c. Address The residential address of the voter. E.g. 123 Notfake Street, Someplace WA 1234. d. VerificationID A unique 16 character identifier which anchors the logging of their voting instance. E.g. 6358163516354163. e. Time The recorded time in which the verification takes place. E.g. 15:38. f. Date The date when the verification takes place. E.g. 11/11. g. Location The location of the polling booth where the voting takes place. E.g. Someplace, WA 1234. DVT IS Software: Direct Interaction across VPN The Digital Voter Tracking Information Systems Software provides access to the Government Electoral Roll Database for the electoral officials working at the various polling booths during an election. a. Electoral officials (processor) use the DVTIS software (processor) to make an enquiry of the Electoral Roll database (processor) using a VPN-type extranet connection. This means the data is encrypted. b. The query takes the form of a search, where the DVTIS asks the Electoral Roll database to find a specific eligible voter by using their VOTERName, VOTERAddress and VOTERDate of birth. c. The DVTIS software also sends a status update to the Electoral Roll Db once the voter has voted, which the Electoral Roll Db uses to block the user from voting again should another electoral official search for the voter later during the same election. Government Electoral Roll Database: Direct Interaction across VPN The Electoral Roll Db confirms to the DVTIS software that an intending voter exists and is eligible to vote. This results in the electoral official physically giving the voter their ballot papers in order for the voter to cast their vote. At a software level there is: a. Confirmation of voter eligibility b. Registering of voted status of the specific voter. Fig 10: Two Examples of 4.3 Communication Networks (cont.) Step 5 Provide an internal view of the information system Draw a diagram that summarises and represents the information system as described in Step 4. The description should display the information and communication technologies, i.e., both computerised and/ or non-computerised, where applicable, that can be used to implement (or realise) the IS. Draw the information processors as rectangles and label them with descriptive names Draw the information stores as cylinders and label them with descriptive names Draw the internal communication networks as lines between the information processors and/or information stores and label them with descriptive names (as needed) Draw the external communication networks as lines between the users and the information processors and label them with descriptive names Style of Information Systems Description Framework The Text The textual sections within your assignment should combine carefully constructed bullet/number lists and some short paragraph writing when short introductions or explanations are required to expound Internal Communication Networks Direct Interaction 1 A direct interaction occurs between the Election Official and the DVT Software. a. The Election Official direct interacts with the DVT Software through the medium of a portable ICT device. This allows the movement needed to ask questions of those in a line, to move about the polling booth location as needed, and to attend to the roles other needs. Wide Area Network 1 A WAN network occurs between the DVT Software and the Electoral Roll Database. a. As the Electoral Roll Database is centrally located so that all polling booths could potentially connect to it, the database is not housed locally (logically or physically) to the DVT Software running on the portable ICT device. As such, an internet or extranet-based connection would exist between the two points. External Communication Networks Direct Interaction 2 A direct interaction occurs between the Voter and the Election Official. a. The Voter directly interacts with the Election official when they verbally provide their personal information for the Election official to search and verify said details. Direct Interaction 3 A direct interaction occurs between the Election Official and the Voter. a. The Election Official direct interacts with the Voter by providing them with verbal confirmation and a confirmation of verification by way of receipt. Fig 11: Two Examples of Internal View on the built/number. One of the reasons for this is because although each step/sub-step is executed separately and worth specific marks in the marking criteria table, you are describing a whole IS, and one of the most important concepts of any system is that no part of the system can operate separate from the whole. That is, each part interacts with other parts and exists because of that. Moreover, some characteristics of a system may only result because of that interaction this will include some of the transactional data/information that you describe as part of steps 4 and 5. Numbering the steps and sub-steps means you can easily refer to specific parts of your assignment from other parts of your assignment. The template is provided for you to help you achieve this. The diagrams The graphical sections within an information system description are generally constructed with a specific notation (i.e. set of symbols like cubes, cylinders, and lines) that have specific meaning. It is important to use the correct graphical notation. These have been briefly explained for the view diagrams above and samples of the symbols are given in the assignment template provided in Blackboard The examples in this document The examples provided in the figures of this ISDF document provide multiple samples of how people approached each of the steps involved. The examples have been provided by Shirlee-ann Knight, Bryce Meredith, Rohini Balapumi & Yap Ching Sen. They demonstrate that although the template/ steps are relatively narrow, how you conceptualise your IS and the resulting description can vary. Glossary: The Vocabulary of ISDF For the sake of clarity I have tried to separate and explain each of the concepts below on its own terms, however it is important to remember that all these key concepts need to be soundly understood in order to understand them individually. At times then, some parts of explanations are repeated. Function: We use this word in the ISDF to describe an action/transaction within the ISDF. A function can be: an input into an IS (e.g., a request to withdraw funds from an ATM) an output from an IS (e.g., a booked seat to go to a concert) a process within the IS (e.g., query to a DB regarding whether a stocked item is available) The level of complexity required for this introductory level ISDF assignment is that students must describe an information system that has at least four functions. How these functions are represented in terms of inputs, outputs or processes is up to individual students. Input: An input is a transaction that takes place as an action becomes data and enters an IS. For example, a punter can use an online app (type of IS) to make a bet on which AFL team will win a game. The punter is the user, their bet is the input into the IS. We conceptualise the bet as an input so that we consider how the function of making a bet might be represented by pieces of data and enter the system. In this way we might describe the input: BET as made up of: userFinancialDetails (how the punter pays for a bet) gameDetails (the game thats being betted on, e.g., date, AFL-round, teams involved) gamePICK (the team who will win the game) betAMOUNT (the amount to be wagered on the bet being made) Output: An output is the result of the input becoming data, moving through the IS and becoming an output. In the same example as above, the initial output might be a BETRECEIPT and could be made up of: gameDetails (the game thats being betted on, e.g., date, AFL-round, teams involved) gamePICK (the team who will win the game) betAMOUNT (the amount to be wagered on the bet being made) betOutcomeWIN (the amount to be won if punter wins, calculated by an internal process) User: In the ISDF the term user is used to conceptualise a person/non-person (e.g., ICT-device) who inputs data into the IS you are describing. While they are essentially similar in concept to the processors that operate internal to the IS, that is inside the defined system boundary, they are called users because they operate externally outside the system boundary of the IS. (Info) Processor: In the ISDF a processor represents users (usually non-person, but could also be person) that interact with data inside the system boundary, that is; they operate internally within the system. As stated in the user definition, processors are conceptually the same thing as a user, except it is inside the IS. They are called information processors to firstly differentiate them from the external-to-the-IS users, but more specifically because they exist purely to somehow handle and manage information/data as it moves through the information system. System boundary: The system boundary is what we use to define what parts of our description are external and/or internal to the IS. Its important to know where we will conceptualise our system boundary because objects and functions external to the IS are called users and inputs, while objects and functions internal to our IS are processors, stores and processes. Figure 5 illustrates two different ways to conceptualise a system boundary for the same scenario. (Info) Store: Within the IS that is, inside the system boundary information/data is both moved around (processes, exercised by processors) and stored. Technically, storing something is a process, so its not incorrect to say that information storage is implemented by information processors. However, we differentiate information processors and stores because not all information processors store. An information store is literally where information is stored within the system. It can be new stores, created from the transactions and processes taking place, or it can be existing information used to make a process/transaction happen. For example, a database of existing (and empty) appointments will sit inside an appointment booking information system as an information store. (Info) Process: Within the IS that is, inside the system boundary information/data moves around in the form of processes. Processes (like inputs and outputs) are those doing or verbs words in any scenario of the IS. For example, when an ELECTION OFFICIAL uses a Voter Verification Information System to register and validate a voter at their local polling station, they would use the VVIS-SOFTWARE (info processor) to make a QUERY (info process) of the database (info store) firstly searching (info process) for the voter, then validating (info process) the user is eligible to vote, then registering (info process) that the voter has been given the appropriate paper work to go and vote. (Communications) Network: Understanding how to describe the communications network within the IDSF might the most conceptually difficult part of the assignment because network is both a physical thing and conceptual thing. For example, a network can be a physical connection of devices (e.g., Internet or extranet), or a network can be a conceptual connection of devices (e.g., a Wide Area Network is a conceptual description of a type of network of devices). Or a network can be a group of friends who have something in common and communicate in a particular way using particular words, words that could have shared meaning within other friendship networks or words that may have exclusive meaning within that specific friendship network. For the purposes for the ISDF we use the term communications network to both physically and conceptually describe how the processors and users communicate with each other. It is not good enough to just say processor X uses a WAN to send a message to processor Y. You need to think carefully about the type of message, how its sent, types of network protocols used to send, protect, verify or transact the message. And Finally: sort-of A conceptual note on information vs data: As we learn throughout the Intro to BIS unit, information and data can be conceptualised as quite different constructs in that we see data as unstructured units of information that explicitly exist with or without context or meaning, and we see information as more structured in that it can be pieces of data brought together to potentially create/enhance meaning or processes. However, data and information are terms that are also used interchangeably in much of the IS literature. In fact, it would not be incorrect to describe the internal information processors, information stores and information processes as data processors, data stores and data processes. Why is that? The answer is both simple and complex. The best way to explain is to consider something like this: an ape is an ape a human is an ape but an ape is not a human. In other words, its just semantics and not something we should ever get bogged down on. In many contexts, for e.g.; data is data, information can be data, but data is not always information. Still having question or problems: It is possible that this document has raised as many questions as it answered. If this is the case, make sure you engage your workshop tutor and/or demonstrator about any concepts you are struggling with or just need a little clarification on. Workshop tutors and demonstrators are in the labs for the expressed purpose of helping you with course content and your assessments. They are also the individual staff members who will mark your assignment, so asking the person who will mark your work is the best strategy for the best assignment result. You can also ask (and even answer other students questions) on any discussion boards in Blackboard. The Assignment Q and As virtual space tends to become an excellent treasure trove of questions, answers and ideas through each semester. There are approx. 1,200 students across 4 campus and 1 virtual campus, the unit coordinator cannot answer all your question about the assignment particularly given that your lab tutor marks your work, not the unit coordinator. Good luck Dr Shirlee-ann Knight, April 2018

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