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Legitimation is important in developing successful information systems (IS). While the adoption of smartcard systems in Chinese universities is receiving great attention from scholars and practitioners, the literature has not yet addressed how legitimation for smartcard systems can be gained from various stakeholders. Based on a case study of smartcard system implementation and adoption at Changsha University, China, this research adopts a qualitative research approach, employs legitimation theory as theoretical foundation, and develops practical recommendations and suggestions. This paper offers in-depth insights into smartcard system project phenomena, and a new perspective in understanding issues related to IS implementation, project management, and management of IS.