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<p>When spring finally comes to New England, it brings with it gaping holes in roads. The larger of these potholes are patched, but the road can never be made smooth again. Smaller potholes, although a daily nuisance, are often not repaired at all. Something similar is happening in the area of information systems: People who need information to accomplish their tasks are finally being provided with easy online access to relevant information. But the information highway has potholes. Like New England drivers in the spring, information consumers must dodge quality problems, large and small, in their quest for high-quality information. Like road crews, the people who produce, store, and maintain information achieve minimal quality through a never-ending process of patching rather than repairing potholes. </p> <p>Poor information quality can create chaos. Unless its root cause is diagnosed, efforts to address it are akin to patching potholes. This article describes 10 key causes, the warning signs, and typical patches. With this knowledge, organizations can identify and address these problems before they have financial and legal consequences. </p> <p>Until recently, there has been little awareness of the pervasiveness of IQ problems and their severe financial and operational costs to organizations. With the increasing dependence of organizations on the quality of information for managerial and operational decision-making, patching IQ potholes is no longer a viable approach. </p> <p><li>#1 Multiple sources of the same information produce different values. </li> <li>#2 Information is produced using subjective judgments, leading to bias. </li> <li>#3. Systemic errors in information production lead to lost information. </li> <li>#4. Large volumes of stored information make it difficult to access information in a reasonable time. </li> <li>#5. Distributed heterogeneous systems lead to inconsistent definitions, formats, and values. </li> <li>#6. Nonnumeric information is difficult to index. </li> <li>#7. Automated content analysis across information collections is not yet available. </li> <li>#8. As information consumers' tasks and the organizational environment change, the information that is relevant and useful changes. </li> <li>#9. Easy access to information may conflict with requirements for security, privacy, and confidentiality. </li> <li>#10. Lack of sufficient computing resources limits access. </li></p>

R. Y. Wang, D. M. Strong and Y. W. Lee, "10 Potholes in the Road to Information Quality," in Computer, vol. 30, no. , pp. 38-46, 1997.
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