The term Management Information System (MIS) is of relatively recent origin and is widely adopted following the accelerated use of computers in the early 1960's. The Management Information System to business what is the nervous system is to the human body. It is described as "informational blood stream" of an organisation. It encompasses a wide range of subject matters like management theory, communication theory, human processing of data and information technology. Often the concept of Management Information System is splintered and confused by' touting new ideas like decision support system, management reporting system, office information system,transaction processing systems, office automation, information resource management and database management system as replacements for Management Information System. However, a brood interpretation of the concept of Management Information System includes all the above.
Management Information System has something significantly to do with two important management functions (or elements of management) studied in Unit 1, namely, planning and controlling. The basis for Management Information System is that computers, in addition to data processing, can serve as fine tools to improve the planning and control of operations by providing better information for decision making. As library and information professionals, we provide information support for research, education, planning, business, decision making and so on and so forth. By and large, libraries are providing information from public domain published information and to a limited extend public domain semi-published information. The critical requirements in a decision making situation in business is the classified and unpublished information as well as the crucial dynamic internally generated information. Each business enterprise will design and maintain its own Management Information System for the purpose and library and information professionals with their techniques and tools can play vital role in this endeavour. However, the purpose of this 'unit is to seek answer to the questions like don't we, as library managers, need Management Information System for libraries and information centres for decision making and efficient functioning? The answer is definitely yes and let us look into various aspects of Management Information System for library and information centres.
Library managers must have information concerning each aspect of their operations, functions and services. As a processor of information,a manager should collect, store, process, retrieve and utilise information required for decision making. Keeping abreast with all his requirements of information (both internal and external) in this ever expanding and complex library and information situation is beyond the capacity of individual library managers. As such a system has to be planned, designed and evolved to take care of this crucial information requirement of information people.