Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads

VCE IT Glossary of Terms

Analysis

(1) Examination of how an information system works by gathering data about the system, identifying data inputs, documenting the flow of data through the system and the data stores and output. The results of the analysis are documented in a logical design for the new or modified system. (2) Examination of how information is currently produced in order to determine the nature of the information problem, what data is to be processed to produce the required output, and to list any constraints.

Audience characteristics

Attributes possessed by the intended users of an information product. Influencing factors include the gender, special needs, culture, age, status and location of the intended audience.

Authoring software

A category of software that enables users to create multimedia and web information products without the need to write programming code. The software generates the code required to run the application created. Often used for designing web pages (for example, MS FrontPage, Macromedia Dreamweaver), multimedia presentations (for example, Sunburst Hyperstudio, Ulead DVD MovieFactory, MS PhotoStory 3), games (for example, Game Creator, 3D Gamemaker, Conitec 3D GameStudio).

Capabilities

How well a piece of hardware or software can perform its function/s; for example, a modem may transmit data at 56Kbps; a digital camera may capture images with 1200 x 800 pixel resolution; image editing software may allow the creation and editing of 32-bit images.

Characteristics

The identifying elements of a piece of hardware or software; for example, Microsoft Word can process words, format documents for online use, produce diagrams; Realplayer can play mpeg files; CD burner records data using a laser beam.

Computer system

A combination of components designed to process and store data. It comprises at least one input device, a processing unit, an output device, and a storage device, and may contain a communications device. The components include the cpu, buses, main memory (RAM and ROM) and peripherals.

Constraints

Factors that must be taken into account when solving an information problem. Typically these factors are classified as economic, for example, budget available to create an information product; technical, for example, availability, capabilities and limitations of equipment; social, for example, culture, ethnicity, age, location, education, special needs and status of end-users; operational, for example, the requirement to use specific techniques and procedures.

Conventions

Commonly understood and accepted ways of doing something; for example, displaying file size and download time required for video links in a web page; using a common method for naming objects of the same class; right justifying monetary values displayed in a column; inserting a subject line in an email message.

Design

(1) Identification of the components (people, procedures, data, equipment) required for a new information system, conversion of the logical design of the information system into a physical design, and preparation of evaluation criteria for the system. (2) Determining alternative ways of solving a problem, applying criteria to select the preferred option, documenting the inputs, processes, and outputs of the preferred option and developing criteria for evaluating the finished information product.

Design elements

Factors that contribute to the appearance and functionality of an information product. In this study these elements are proportion (visual hierarchy), orientation (direction/aspect), clarity and consistency, colour and contrast, usability and accessibility, appropriateness, relevance.

Design tools

Methods of representing the appearance and functionality of information products. Tools to represent designs include data flow diagrams, flow charts, pseudocode, Input-Process-Output charts, structure tables, charts and diagrams, annotated diagrams/mock-ups, storyboards, layout diagrams.

Development

1) Acquire, assemble and test a new information system, in accordance with the physical design, ready for implementation. (2) Transform a design into a working information product ready for implementation. A design is not properly developed until it has been tested.

Disaster recovery plan

Intended actions to be taken by organisations in the event of a disaster occurring with their information systems. Typically these plans cover ways in which organisations prepare for potential disaster, how they will minimise the effects of any disasters and how they will resume normal operations after the event. These plans should be documented and tested.

Dispose

To remove/delete unwanted files and can involve the transferring of inactive files to an auxiliary storage area (archiving).

Effectiveness

A measure of how well something works, such as an information system, file management strategies and an information product, and the extent to which it achieves its intended results. Measures of an effective information system include reliability and maintainability. Measures of an effective information product include completeness, readability, attractiveness, clarity, accuracy, accessibility, timeliness, communication of message, relevance and usability. Measures of an effective file management strategy include integrity of data, security, ease of retrieval and currency of files.

Efficiency

A measure of how little time, cost and/or effort is wasted in order to achieve intended results. Measures of an efficient information system include its productivity, processing time, operational costs and level of automation. Measures of an efficient information product include the speed of processing, the functionality of the solution, the ease of use of the solution and output and the cost of information processing.

Electronic journal

A way of electronically documenting learning and storing information for the purposes of reflection. For example, blogs can be developed and maintained as e-Iearning journals, which should be chronologically ordered and, where appropriate, include links to evidence of learning. Entries are typically brief, with a focus on reflection.

End-users

People who use a computer directly to input or retrieve data and information.

File formats

How data in a file is stored, such as jpeg, bitmap, MP3.

Function

(1) The tasks performed by information system components. (2) Tasks or operations performed by software.

Global environment

An economy in which potential suppliers, customers, employees, or branches may be located anywhere around the globe.

Image editing

Types of software used to create and edit images, for example Macromedia Flash and Adobe PhotoShop.

Implement

(1) The fourth stage of the systems development life cycle (SDLe) that includes activities relating to the introduction of a new or modified system, such as acquiring user acceptance, developing and running a training strategy, developing documentation and changing over an existing system to a new system. (2) Making the software solution ready for use by those who need it. This may involve creating user documentation, making sure that the equipment on which the solution is going to be used can support it, clearing the solution of any test data and protecting the files.

Information architecture

The content and navigation pathways within an on-screen information product. Effective information architecture enables users to intuitively and confidently locate information they require.

Information characteristics

Attributes by which information can be described, including structure (for example, detailed, summarised), form (for example, text, sound, images, statistics), layout and meaning of text and symbols (for example, order of text, placement of icons, formality and tone of text).

Information and communications technology (ICT)

The use of computer-based information systems and communications systems to process, transmit and store data and information.

Information product

Information created by using ICT tools, functions and techniques. A product can be an action, viewed on-screen or printed. The quality of an information product is evaluated on the basis of its suitability, reliability, meaning, accuracy, accessibility, completeness, timeliness, relevance and bias.

Information system

The combination of people, procedures, equipment, and data that process data and information. Types of information systems include transaction-processing, office automation, managing information, decision-support, expert support.

Internal documentation

Comments written into program code to explain variables, procedures, methods. Well-documented code assists future programmers to update the program.

Known audience/client

An individual or organisation for whom an information product is specifically created. The solution and product take into account the attributes and needs of that client or audience. The client or audience (individual or organisation) can be real or their details provided in a design brief.

Legal obligations

Legal responsibilities that individuals and organisations have with respect to the ownership and privacy of information. For the purposes of this study the key provisions of the following laws are relevant: Privacy Act 1988, Information Privacy Act 2000, Health Records Act 2001 and the Copyright Act 1968.

Logical design

Describes the functions required of a system, that is, what is to be done, not how it will be done. Logical design is not concerned with hardware and software requirements but rather with the processes to be performed.

Logical design tools

Methods of representing what is required of an information system, including context diagrams, data flow diagrams and data dictionaries.

Network architecture

The types and characteristics of the network components and how they are connected; for example, routers, switches, cables.

Network operating system

Software that controls the operations of a network; controls the computer systems and peripherals, and the communication between them.

Network topologies

Ways of configuring or laying out a network. Common topologies are bus, star, hybrid.

Networked information system

An information system (people, procedures, data, equipment) in which the equipment is connected to share files and resources, and is able to send and receive communications.

New/modified information system

Any change to any component (people, procedures, equipment, data) of an information system may result in a new (or modified) system.

On-screen information product

Information which is to be viewed only on-screen. It is not intended to be printed. It is created using ICT tools, functions and techniques.

Physical design

Describes how an information system will be physically implemented in order to meet its logical requirements. This involves specifying the technical (hardware and software) components that will enable the logical design specifications to be implemented. Tools to represent the physical design include system flow charts and structure charts.

Portable devices

Devices that are compact and portable and often enable wireless high-speed broad band access, including laptops, personal digital assistants (PDAs), gaming consoles, mobile phones.

Problem-solving methodology

A method for solving information problems. In this study the method chosen involves stages of analysing, designing, developing, testing, documenting, implementing, evaluating.

Procedural factors

Any proposal to change an information system must include consideration of the impact of the proposed change on procedures for controlling data flow through the system.

Project management strategies

Methods of planning, organising and monitoring a project in order for it to be completed on time and within budget. Managing projects may include identifying required functionalities, scheduling and monitoring tasks, allocating resources, identifying milestones and determining contingency plans. Tools to assist in this process include Gantt charts, PERT charts, precedence diagrams, worksheets (spreadsheets) and tables.

Prototype

A model or simulation of a solution or an information product that demonstrates, for example, its functionality, partial navigation options and interface.

Purpose-designed software

Software written by a programmer for a specific purpose.

Purposes of information

(1) To inform - to report about an issue, event, person. (2) To persuade - to assist in making decisions about a course of action or to change a person's point of view on an issue. (3) To educate - to increase a user's level of understanding of a concept. (4) To entertain - to amuse, to give enjoyment, to give pleasure.

Role

The part played by an information system component; for example, the role of a network administrator is to keep the system functioning; the role of a scanner is to read documents and convert them into digital form that the computer can process.

Security devices

Equipment used to assist in the protection of systems and files produced and received by organisations, including virus protection software, encryption software, biometrics, backup media, firewalls, surveillance technology, locks and grills, alarms.

Software

System software is the operating system and utilities programs that control a computer system. Application software are programs that enable users to process data.

Software design factors

Elements which influence the design of software, such as audience needs, specific user interface requirements, processing efficiency and development time.

Software development methodology

A set method for solving information problems using a programming language. In this study the method chosen involves stages of analysing, designing, developing, testing, documenting, implementing, evaluating.

Software module

A small self-contained program that carries out a clearly defined task and is intended to operate within a larger program suite.

Software tools

Software used to perform particular types of functions, for example, software to create information products for on-screen viewing; software for creating models of events and phenomena.

Software types

Specific software that fulfil the requirements of software tools, for example, multimedia authoring and web authoring software are types of software that enable the creation of information products for on-screen viewing.

Solution

A method of achieving a specific information need through the application of technology and techniques. From a solution, a product can be generated, for example, a chart (a product) can be created from a sheet (solution) in a spreadsheet file.

Specifications

The characteristics and capabilities of hardware and software items.

System software

The software that controls the operations of a computer system. It is a group of programs rather than one program. The operating system controls the hardware in the computer and peripherals, manages memory and files, and multi-tasking functions, and is the interface between applications programs and the computer. Utilities programs format, check and defragment disks.

System support documentation

Manuals and instructions that enable technical users of an information system to maintain and update the system. They may include hardware and software specifications and capabilities stored in system information files, file management, backup and disaster recovery procedures.

Systems development life cycle

A method for developing information systems. In this study this method has five main phases: analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation.

Technique

The way a process is performed; for example, whether a word-processing function is invoked by mouse selection or keyboard shortcut; whether data is gathered by a surveyor online questionnaire.

Test

(1) Testing an information system involves checking that procedures, equipment, and staff process data as expected. Each component may be tested and then the whole system tested. (2) Test data should be developed to ensure the procedures and formulas of a solution operate and process data as expected. This test is normally performed during and immediately after the development of the solution. When using a programming language it is called debugging. Once debugged, someone not involved in the program development tests it.

Test plan

A technique for recording tests to be carried out and the expected results of the tests. Typically a plan states the type of test, what test data will be used, what results are expected, and the actual results.

Transmission media

Means by which a communications signal is carried from one system to another (for example, twisted-pair wire, coaxial cable, fibre-optic cable) and wireless links (for example, satellite, microwave and radio and infrared systems).

User documentation

User guides/instruction manuals to enable operational users to use the system. They may include instructions for accessing and using programs, accessing, naming, and saving files, and protocols; for example, for using email, troubleshooting.

User interface

The way a user interacts with a computer system; for example, a screen and keyboard as in a desktop computer or ATM, a keypad as in an ID security system, a barcode reader and screen.

Validate

To check that data input to a computer system is of an appropriate type for processing and within acceptable boundaries.

Virtual team

A group of people who share knowledge and solve problems using ICT. They may never meet face-to-face, conducting all communications via electronic means.

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again

Example:

Reload the page to try again!

Reload

Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording

Create Set