Decision Support Systems Wisdom

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Churchman, 1971

In his 1971 book, C. West Churchman discussed many topics related to supporting decision makers. Early in that book he stated "Knowledge can be considered as a collection of information, or as an activity, or as a potential. If we think of it as a collection of information, then the analogy of a computer's memory is helpful, for we can say that knowledge about something is like the storage of meaningful and true strings of symbols in a computer. ... Put otherwise, to conceive of knowledge as a collection of information seems to rob the concept of all its life. ... knowledge resides in the user and not in the collection. It is how the user reacts to a collection of information that matters. ... Thus knowledge is a potential for a certain type of action, by which we mean that the action would occur if certain tests were run. For example, a library plus its user has knowledge if a certain type of response will be evoked under a given set of stipulations ... (p. 9-11)"

Churchman, C.W. The Design of Inquiring Systems, Basic Books, New York, NY, 1971.

appeared in DSS News, July 1, 2001, Vol. 2, No. 14