Professional medical practice, like other organizational conduct, relies upon records which document transactions between members and their clientele. Medical practitioners employ a set of conventions providing for the systematic recording and interpretation of medical record cards that forms a social organization underlying the records cards' ordinary usage. In this paper we examine these conventions and develop a computer program which captures elements of their structure and use. By doing so we illustrate one way in which sociological analysis can contribute to the design of ‘intelligent systems.’ We also suggest that the emerging discipline of Artificial Intelligence might find recent developments in sociology pertinent to its concerns.
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