As in the case of the individual, there is a limit to the number of domains of knowledge, however pre-digested, which a group can handle conceptually as a comprehensible whole. Most groups have developed, whether consciously or unconsciously, remarkable skills at sweeping awkward factors under any convenient conceptual carpet in order to create the impression that they are in control of a situation. Presumably society could reach a condition in which more inconvenient items of knowledge are being repressed in this way than are effectively dealt with. Another aspect of the problem is that it is now recognized as misguided to elaborate information systems independently from the groups and institutions that they must serve. The man/machine interface has become such a critical factor that it is now vital to consider 'groupware' design as a necessary complement to hardware and software design. Group comprehension of complex problems requires that a user group 'reconfigure' to grasp the pattern of information available. Information systems should facilitate this process but as yet no such flexibility is envisaged. The gravity of the situation is particularly evident in the difficulty large conferences experience in organizing themselves as groups marshalling the (documentary) information at their disposal to focus on problem complexes.