Oral history of British science
Land, Frank (10 of 18). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee's home, Ivybridge
Land, Fred Frank, 1928- (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 10: Remarks on transition from industry to LSE. Comments on role as computer service manager: uses of computer service by other departments; [04:09] use of Atlas at University of London Computer Service; teaching a course at Birkbeck College with Dick Buckingham and Florentine. [06:05] Remarks on: use of Atlas computer; introduction of subject specialists in LSE computing department; IBM1440 at LSE; comparison of LEOIII and IBM1440. [09:29] Remarks on: building a team at LSE, Mike Garside; PhD student Losty, on systems whose views differed to FL; [11:41] differences between computer science and information systems; joining CNAA committee to develop Polytechnic systems courses; joining BCS committee under Peter Clute; joining IFIP committee at Shrivenham on education under Dick Buckingham, which produced a book and gave him international insight. [16:43] Comments on CNAA committee activities: FL becoming external examiner for many Polytechnics; a trip to Hong Kong to certify courses, on which he took his daughter [21:54] and visited Chinese university in Kowloon; comparison with work on BC committee. [25:05] Further remarks on BCS: committee, including Peter Clute; IS less important to BCS than CS; specialist groups in BCS; [27:44] Computer Conservation Society, with Tony Sale, concerned with the object more than wider context; benefits of BCS membership; membership of business systems group with Elizabeth Somogyi and socio-technical group under Chris Clegg; [32:00] Comments on socio-technical committee and socio-technical theory: origins in 1950s introduction of new technology not producing expected benefits, relationship with Taylorism, importance of quality of working life, [37:03] pioneering work by Enid Mumford; emphasis of real nature of social side; committee membership; [39:42] Comments on producing BCS report on how computers add value with EM and John Hawgood and Mike Redwood; acceptance of report by industry - Pfizer, ICI; long term working relationships with EM and John Hawgood; [42:56] working arrangements when producing reports with JH and EM; publishing of report by NCC and its limited impact; later work in area with David Targett from London BS and Barbara Farbey [45:55]. Remarks on problems identifying value provided by computers. Comments on limited influence of academic IS on business practices: early importance of specialist consultancy services, such as James Martin and [Michael] Jackson, compared to academia; [51:14] Soft systems methodology, developed by Peter Checkland. [53:38] Remarks on academic IS limitations: ability to understand what has happened but not build a system; neglecting of innovative areas, such as embedded systems, games and hacking. Remarks on: reactive nature of electronic security compared to proactive electronic criminals; FL's long interest in academia - industry relations.
Interview with computer programmer and information systems theorist Frank Land.