Prometheus: Vol 18, No 1 (2000)

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Institutional Amnesia: A Paradox of the ‘Information Age’?
Christopher Pollitt
Pages: 5-16


It is one of the paradoxes of our age that, while new information technologies have provided us with the ability to store, retrieve, manipulate and communicate more data, faster than ever before, at the same time many of our public institutions seem to be losing their memories. Many texts have been written about ‘organizational learning’, but few about organizational forgetting. The core contention of this paper is that the phenomenon of organizational amnesia deserves attention, from scholars and practitioners alike. My aim, therefore, is to set out the character, causes and likely consequences of institutional memory loss in the contemporary public sector.

From Innovation Systems to Knowledge Systems
Jeremy Howells & Joanne Roberts
Pages: 17-31


This paper seeks to provide an understanding of knowledge creation and dissemination through an exploration and analysis of knowledge systems. It begins with a brief review of the systems of innovation approach. This is followed by a discussion of knowledge systems in which the nature of knowledge is considered and a definition of knowledge systems is outlined. A conceptual analysis of knowledge systems is provided in which they are compared and contrasted with systems of innovation. The conceptual framework presented is then examined more fully within the context of the computer services sector. Finally, conclusions are drawn and directions for further research are outlined.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization – A Millennial Challenge
Gustav J. V. Nossal
Pages: 33-37


As the new millennium dawns, a number of factors have conspired to make the outlook for global immunisation truly promising. These include private philanthropy aiming to raise immunisation rates in developing countries; a real head of steam behind the global poliomyelitis eradication campaign; the very recent introduction of several powerful new vaccines; and a 2-year-long effort to make the various elements of the United Nations system work closely together with non-governmental organisations and the private sector in wide co-operation. The aim is to prevent 3-4 million deaths per year. Despite a great deal of heartening progress, there is still need for further research. We have no vaccine for HIV/AIDS or malaria, and the only tuberculosis vaccine, namely BCG, is poorly effective in the prevention of adult pulmonary tuberculosis. However, new resources are bringing new players into the research field as well, so the longer term outlook is heartening.

The Nature and Functions of Meta-tags: Covert Infringement of Trademarks and Other Issues
Noel Guivani Ramiscal
Pages: 39-57


Meta-tags are one of the ‘associational tools’ considered essential to the operation of the World Wide Web. Their significance has been highlighted by recent controversies in the United States which focus on one of their important functions, i.e. as indices of websites which search engines read and rely upon in looking for the appropriate content relative to queries submitted to them. This article deals with the effect of meta-tags on the intellectual property rights of website owners. The author presents a critical survey of the American meta-tag cases and offers an Australian perspective.

Digital Songlines: The Use of Modern Communication Technology by an Aboriginal Community in Remote Australia
Lydia Buchtmann
Pages: 59-74


In the mid-1980s the AUSSAT satellite brought television and radio to remote Australia for the first time. There was concern amongst Aboriginal communities that the imposition of mass media without consultation could result in permanent damage to culture and language. However, over the years, the Warlpiri people have adopted modern communication technology including radio, video making, locally produced television, and more recently on-line services. This paper examines why the Warlpiri have adopted modern communication technology and whether there have been social changes as a result. It also looks at the pioneering media work by the Pitjantjatjara people at Ernabella in the far north of South Australia.

IT Investment Strategy for Development: An ‘Instrumental Analysis’ Based on the Tasmanian and New Brunswick Information Technology Strategies
Jerry Courvisanos
Pages: 75-91


In April 1997, Tasmania (Australia) adopted the reputably successful New Brunswick (Canada) industrial strategy to build an information technology (IT) industry of significance. The strategy aims to overcome isolation in small regional economies and structurally change from declining natural resource industries. Both plans reject neo-classical economics-based industry policy, opting instead for a strong state-based investment planning approach. An analytical framework is set out, using Adolph Lowe’s ‘Instrumental Analysis’, to examine implementation of both IT strategies. Implications of this analysis are drawn for any attempts at developing IT regional plans and, more generally, as a guide for broad strategic-based national industrial strategies.

Book reviews
Pages: 93-114

Shorter notice
Page: 115

Pages: 117-118

Contributors to this Issue
Page: 119