In a world awash in data, information systems help provide structure and access to information. Since libraries build, manage, and maintain information systems, librarians and LIS students are often propelled onto the front lines of interactions between library users and technology. But what do librarians need to know to best meet their patron's needs? What exactly are information systems and how do they work? Information expert Ratzan uses plain language, humor, and everyday examples like baseball and arithmetic to make sense of information systems (computer hardware, software, databases, the Internet). He also explores their characteristics, uses, abuses, advantages, and shortcomings for your library. Fun exercises and appendixes are provided to illustrate key points in the book and measure understanding. You can be a technophobe and still learn about systems and subsystems to represent, organize, retrieve, network, secure, conceal, measure, and manage information.This basic introduction addresses both theoretical and practical issues, including: What questions to ask technology vendors to meet your library's needs; When technology may not be the solution to a problem; Secrets for managing an information system; How to make your information system a success; LIS instructors and students, IT staff, digital librarians, library generalists and managers will welcome this expert sourcebook, complete with exercises, references, examples, terms, and charts that clarify concepts.