Electronics-based information networks have brought widespread transformations in the way information flows in university campuses, to such a degree that the expression “campus information system” is usually equivalent to “campus electronic networked information system.” Universities are highly decentralised organizations, so managing corporate electronic information resources poses challenges such as finding an optimal degree of standardisation or the global orientation of corporate information resources (Cornford, 2000). These challenges were less of a problem when using paper and in face-to-face campuses. Likewise, external pressures due to the rise of the network society pose questions about the role of universities. These questions affect the concept of information systems. Thus, it is time to review the conceptual framework for campus information systems, focusing on strategic information management of higher education institutions in networked environments. Characterisation is established and discussed, with special attention paid to students as the main users of campus information systems.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Information Resource: An element of infrastructure that enables the transaction of certain selected significant and relevant data, prepared so as to provide content and information services that can be used directly by the user. It is necessary to establish some minimum socio-technical requirements for an element to qualify as a resource.
Structuring: The attribute that measures to what extent an information resource promotes the availability of information in records (and, if applicable, the organization of these records in controlled fields) for its transaction.
Transactionality: The attribute that measures to what extent an information resource is focused on enabling transactions to be carried out online. By transaction we mean a process involving exchanging or viewing either standard documents or physical objects.
Campus Information System (CIS): An interrelated group of information resources, accessible by computer through the campus’s institutional external and internal Web environment, which a university places at the disposal of its users to enable them to consult it and/or provide a selection of data significant and relevant in the context of their university life in its academic, administrative and social senses.
Decisionality: The attribute that measures to what extent an information resource is focused on enabling the student to plan and make decisions.
Interactivity: The attribute that measures to what extent the student can actively enter into the use of the information resource while consulting and/or entering information.
Hierarchicalization: The attribute that measures the focus of the information resource on the transaction of information between equals (students) or between students and the teaching staff or administration.
Information Attribute: The qualitative aspect of information transactions offered by the resources. Each attribute can be applied to each and every one of the resources and has a finite set of possible values. This implies the definition of certain decision criteria with respect to assigning a value from the group of possible values to a particular attribute.
Communicationality: The attribute that measures to what extent an information resource is focused on the transaction of emerging information, such as suggestions, news, opinions or queries, or on working as a group.