A classification of information systems: Analysis and interpretation

Phillip Ein-Dor*, Eli Segev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Seventeen major types of information systems are identified and defined by vectors of their attributes and functions. These systems are then classified by numerical methods. The quantitative analysis is interpreted in terms of the development history of information system types. Two major findings are that the numerical classification autonomously follows the chronological appearance of system types and that, along the time line, systems have followed two major paths of development; these have been termed the applied artificial intelligence path and the human interface path. The development of new types of systems is considered within the framework of a theory of technological evolution. It is shown that newer types of systems result from gradual accretion of new technologies on one hand, and loss of older ones on the other. Conclusions are drawn concerning the value of taxonomy in studying information systems, in suggesting possible research directions, and the desirability of rationalizing research efforts within the IS discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-204
Number of pages39
JournalInformation Systems Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993


  • Attributes
  • Classification
  • Functions
  • History
  • Information systems
  • Technology evolotion


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