Computers - utensils or epaulets? the application perspective revisited

Gro Bjerknes, Tone Bratteteig

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12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is a discussion about how the Application Perspective works in practice.1 We talk about values and attitudes to system development and computer systems, and we illustrate how they have been carried out in practice by examples from the Florence project.2 The metaphors 'utensil' and 'epaulet' refer to questions about how we conceive the computer system we are to design in the system development process. Our experience is that, in the scientific community, technical challenges mean making computer systems that may be characterised as 'epaulets': they have technical, fancy features, but are not particularly useful. Making small, simple, but useful computer systems, more like 'utensils', does not give as much credit even if the development process may be just as challenging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-266
Number of pages9
JournalAI and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1988
Externally publishedYes

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