Keith Douglas' Web Page

About me Find out who I am and what I do.
My resumé A copy of my resumé and other documentation about my education and work experience for employers and the curious.
Reviews, theses, articles, presentations A collection of papers from my work, categorized and annotated.
Current research projects What I am currently working on, including some non-research material.
Interesting people People professionally "connected" to me in some way.
Interesting organizations Organizations I am "connected" to. (Some rather loosely.)
Intellectual/professional influences Influences on my work, including an organization chart. Here you can also buy many good books on philosophy and other subjects via I have included brief reviews of hundreds of books.
Professional resources Research sources, associates programs, etc.
What is the philosophy of computing? A brief introduction to my primary professional interest.
My intellectual heroes A partial list of important people. Limited to the dead.
My educational philosophy As a sometime teacher I've developed one. Includes book resources.

Book Influences - Management

Decision Support Systems: A Knowledge Based Approach Holsapple and Whinston A thick textbook on, essentially, using software to help manage decisions in large organizations (typically, corporations). As befits a 1996 book, a lot of it feels dated (inadquate discussion of object oriented programming, the novelty of the World Wide Web, etc.) What is of some interest still, at least philosophically, is another approach to knowledge different again from cognitive psychology or traditional epistemology. One perennial point on that theme is the ubquitous "pragmatism" the book espouses (not surprising): all knowledge discussed is for the sake of action. Even the outcome of rule-systems is described as being action (even if technically it is a description of one, or perhaps a command).
From Ratholes to Rainbows: Managing Project Recovery Kothari and Mitchell [Not available at] This is a sequel to Kothari's other book (see below) specifically on project recovery. It has many of the same strengths and weaknesses - it involves a bit more "hands on" style but also has a few more typos and poor wording.
Journey to Data Quality Lee, Pipino, Funk and Wang Quality of data expressed as a management goal on a par with other products in a commercial organization. Since the book is American, almost all the examples are from commercial health care in a way that would be partially inapplicable here in Canada. However, what is more missing is discussion of where data arguably is the product (as, for example, in some government departments), and whether that makes a difference. The most important thing of interest to me was the threefold distinction between data collectors, curators and consumers. Some organizations blur the latter two roles. For those looking for many computational principles, one won't find too many - the book is at a higher level of abstraction than that. For example, it mentions the difficulty of data homophones and synonyms, but provides really very concrete suggestions on how to avoid them, how to deal with them when discovered, etc. A shame, since a textbook-style chapter would have been sufficient given the book's style. All in all, not a bad book, just a very incomplete one.
L'évaluation des impact sur l'environnement: Processus, acteurs et practique André et al An introductory but still fairly broad volume on the subject suggested by the title. Special emphasis on the francophonie is present. Endless examples and case studies make for finding general advice problematic. Also, the expected target audience is not at all obvious.
Management of Information Technology, 3e Frenzel This book is a little out of date computingwise, though I suspect the management principles are still a useful starting point. The book also suffers from technical errors of various kinds in the computing sections. Usefully for the philosopher, though briefly, it includes a discussion of ethics.
Organization Theory Pugh, ed. A surprisingly dense collection of papers, book exerpts, talk transcripts, etc. on this subject. Organizations here are social systems, usually businesses though there are mentions of religious orders, nonprofits, government departments, etc. Of particular value to me is the discussion of the tacit views of human nature held by many managers, which are often false.
Organization Theory and Design (5e) Daft A textbook of the structure, change and "culture" of organizations, particularly for-profit corporations. Does not open well, with an outlandish, pseudoscientific use of chaos theory in the first chapter or so. Afterwards, the usual vagueness and "chart junk" takes over, but no other egregiously wrongheaded things are found. It is all very nebulous and hard to evaluate. The choice of language is usually clear enough; just the ideas are squishy. No doubt out of date as well; however seeing the case studies is somewhat interesting - I imagine one could assign them to illustrate what changes and doesn't in the ~15 years since this edition was published.
Rainbows & Ratholes Kothari The existence of the field of project management has always confused me. Now I understand why. I was skeptical that one could say anything about managing projects independent of subject matter, whence I wondered how there could be expert project managers. This book (and a workshop given by its author, where I heard about the book first) suggests my mistake was thinking that the independence of project management from specific projects removed the obligation of knowing the subject matter. This is definitely false; Kothari does not say so but a lot of his specifics depend on it. I also wonder about a lot of the vagueness and imprecision. In his workshop, he had us estimate times for things; fair enough, this can be implicitly learned by experience. But, for example, how does one resolve issues of conflicting "subjective probability" when it comes to risk? We are not told; the whole aspect of "coming to agreement" in general is not discussed much. But the book is also written in a lively and accessible style, which is all to the good in a world of pointy-haired bosses.
Security Strategy: From Requirements to Reality Stackpole and Okensdahl

As much a management book as a book about the big picture of security. Although the book focuses on IT security, one of its big themes is how physical (traditional) security and IT security substantially overlap, sometimes in unexpected ways. Not about any specific technologies, the book instead emphasizes the mind set and how to adapt various business practices (including, most crucially for my needs) the SDLC to do security better. This "better", nota bene, includes better relations with those whose responsibility is not directly security. Since I regard myself as currently in a "fly between" role, this is all to the good for me, at least. A clear book, but one with a lot of "sidebars" and quotations, so a bit strained to read - but not much - in places. Also includes many useful checklists and summaries and does not succumb, at least directly, to promoting pseudoevaluations that often.