ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

This article is a reprint of parts of Chapter 2, “Towards a Pervasive Information Architecture”, from Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati's “Pervasive Information Architecture”, a book published by Morgan Kauffman. The text was partially edited for clarity by the authors. The Journal would like to thank Morgan Kauffman for consenting to the reprint.
Content may be subject to copyright.
JOURNAL OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE | VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2
REPRINT
Andrea Resmini
University of Borås
Luca Rosati
Information architect
A Brief History of Information Architecture
This article is a reprint of parts of Chapter 2, “Towards a Pervasive Information Architecture”, from
Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati's “Pervasive Information Architecture”, a book published by Morgan
Kauffman. The text was partially edited for clarity by the authors. The Journal would like to thank
Morgan Kauffman for consenting to the reprint. All rights remain the property of the original right
holders.
The metaphors we use constantly in our everyday language profoundly influence what we
do because they shape our understanding. They help us describe and explore new ideas in
terms and concepts found in more familiar domains.
Earl Morrogh, Information Architecture: An Emerging 21st Century Profession, 2003
Information architecture (IA) is a professional practice and field of studies focused on
solving the basic problems of accessing, and using, the vast amounts of information
available today. You commonly hear of information architecture in connection with
the design of web sites both large and small, and when wireframes, labels, and
taxonomies are discussed. As it is today, it is mainly a production activity, a craft, and it
relies on an inductive process and a set, or many sets, of guidelines, best practices, and
personal and professional expertise. In other words, information architecture is arguably
not a science but, very much like say industrial design, an applied art.
Even though its modern use, strictly related to the design of information, goes back no
farther than the mid-1970s and Richard Saul Wurman’s famous address at the
American Institute of Architecture conference of 1976, use of the term information
together with the term architecture1, has been around for a little bit longer and in quite
1It must be remembered that Wurman wrote an article with Joel Katz entitled “Beyond Graphics: The Architecture of
Information,” which was published by the AIA Journal in 1975. In an interview with Dirk Knemeyer in 2004, Wurman
said: “The common term then was ‘information design.’ What got confusing was information design and interior design and
industrial design, at that moment and still today in many and most people’s minds, are about making something look good.
33
RESMINI & ROSATI | A BRIEF HISTORY OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
a few different settings. In an IBM research paper written in 1964, some 12 years before
Wurman, and entitled “Architecture of the IBM System/360” (Amdahl et al 1964),
architecture is defined as
the conceptual structure and functional behavior, distinguishing the organization of data
flows and controls, logical design, and physical implementation.
It is not disputable that we are talking computer architectures here, disks and boxes and
wires and hubs, but the way in which the term architecture is abstracted and
conceptualized in connection with structure and behavior and not just physical layouts
laid the basis for the subsequent extension of its use to other areas of computing2.
A few years later, in 1970, at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), a group of
people specialized in information science was assembled and then given the charter to
develop technology which could support the “architecture of information” (Pake 1985).
This group was single-handedly responsible for a number of important contributions
in what we would call today the field of human-computer interaction, including the
first personal computer with a user-friendly interface, laser printing, and the first
WYSIWYG text editor. As Marti Hearst, now a professor at the University of
California Berkeley, recalls,
(p)erhaps because of the social nature of information creation and use, much of the technical
research at PARC has emphasized the human-computer interaction and social aspects of
computing.
Weitzman (1995) supports this notion that the modern inception of the term originally
came from Xerox Labs3. Quoting Smith and Alexander (1988), Weitzman maintains
that
Xerox was among the first corporations to address this notion of information structure and
use the “elegant and inspiring phraseology, the architecture of information” to define its new
corporate mission.
This high-level framing, the necessity for a broader vision, remained one of the core
concepts for those who wrote about information architecture up to the mid 1980s, as
Interior designers make your place look better, industrial designers were engineers doing something that usually went to an
engineer to put a package around it. Information design was epitomized by which map looked the best—not which took care
of a lot of parallel systemic parts. That is what I thought ‘architecture’ did and was a clearer word that had to do with
systems that worked and performed. . . . I thought the explosion of data needed an architecture, needed a series of systems,
needed systemic design, a series of performance criteria to measure it. There are thousands of people using the term
[information architecture], and they have no idea where the term came from, and 90 percent of them aren’t doing what I
think they should be doing anyway.”
2Much of this discussion owes a great deal to the work of Rodrigo Ronda León. See References.
3Besides providing further documental evidence to support this notion, Weitzman also underlines how Xerox actually
contributed vastly to the general view of information architecture as a tool to support the design and presentation of
documents, something that is of vital importance in Wurman’s work.
JOURNALOFIA.ORG | ISSN 1903-7260
JOURNAL OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE | VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2
much as this joining of specialists in information science and in user-focused
development (Ronda León 2008), a trait that will be somehow brought to greater
visibility and results by the first wave of modern information architects in the 1990s.
From the mid 1980s, information architecture seemingly went through a dormant
period, during which the idea of information architecture as both the design of
complex or dynamically changing information seemed to be lost to a view much more
akin to that of information systems. Articles written in those years mostly refer to
information architecture as a tool for the design and creation of computer
infrastructures and data layers, with a larger emphasis on the organizational and
business aspects of the information networks (Morrogh 2003).
Curiously enough, much of the design deliverables we associate with information
architecture today are a product of this period: blueprints, requirements, information
categories, guidelines on the underlying business processes, global corporate needs,
they all make their way into information architecture-related territory in the 1980s
(Brancheau & Wetherbe 1986). They will be incorporated once and for all in the
information architects toolkit by the wave of the late 1990s lead by Rosenfeld and
Morville.
This is what Ronda León describes in his graphical chronology of information
architecture: identifying key books, papers, and conferences, Ronda León introduces a
three-part development hypothesis (Fig. 1) spanning roughly 30 years, in which the
two early phases, that of information design (1960s-1970s) and that of system design
(1980s), are integrated into the modern mainstream idea of information architecture as
we know it today in the 1990s.
It seems fair to infer that the early take on information architecture that developed from
the IBM papers, PARC, and Wurman̉’s initial vision was still coalescing when the
emergence of the World Wide Web provided a one-time chance for pioneer-minded
professionals to operate on large amounts of data in a new media, void of or minimally
encumbered by preexisting corporate hierarchies. In 1998, Louis Rosenfeld and Peter
Morville’s book Information Architecture for the World Wide Web4 hit the shelves, and
information architecture went mainstream.
4The book, usually called the Polar Bear book because of the drawing on its cover, is currently in its 3rd edition, published
2006.
35
RESMINI & ROSATI | A BRIEF HISTORY OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
APPROACHES TO INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
That’s why I’ve chosen to call myself an Information Architect. I don’t mean a
bricks and mortar architect. I mean architect as used in the words architect of foreign
policy. I mean architect as in the creating of systemic, structural, and orderly
principles to make something work--the thoughtful making of either artifact, or
idea, or policy that informs because it is clear. I use the word information in its
truest sense. Most of the word information contains the word inform, so I call things
information only if they inform me, not if they are just collections of data, of stuff.
R. S. Wurman, 1996
We propose a slightly revised version of the basic scheme outlined by Ronda León, in
which the three consecutive periods in the timeline effectively translate to three broad,
different and partially overlapping approaches that have characterized the research and
practice of information architecture so far, the differentiating factor being the way they
work with information: statically, dynamically, and as a resource. It is clear that while
both the information design and the information science approaches we describe below
see information as the raw material to use for building artifacts, the information
systems approach does not. As Roger and Elaine Evernden wrote in their book
Information First (2003), information architecture is
a foundation discipline describing the theory, principles, guidelines, standards conventions
and factors for managing information as a resource.
JOURNALOFIA.ORG | ISSN 1903-7260
Figure 1: Ronda León, R. (1998). A chronology of information architecture in the 1980s and early 1990s. References obtained
from LISA. Image reflects later rediting.
JOURNAL OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE | VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2
The focus is clearly on the managing of information for better enterprise-wide
consumption and use, and the very idea of design, of creation, is virtually absent.
INFORMATION DESIGN
The information design approach roughly corresponds to Richard Saul Wurman’s
contribution and initial vision. For Wurman, design and architecture are the basis for a
science and art of creating “instruction(s) for organized space” (Wurman 1997) and for
making these understandable. Understanding is a key concept in Wurman’s work: he
published his seminal book Information Architects in 1997, just one year before
Rosenfeld and Morville’s Information Architecture for the World Wide Web5: the book
dealt with the increasing difficulty Wurman was experiencing in communicating
rising amounts of information and presented a large selection of design solutions to the
problem. It was a designer’s book: from a designer, for designers.
Wurman’s maintained that as much as architects are expected to create structure and
order in the world through planning and building, information architects were
expected to draw lines and derive some kind of order in dataspace, their primary task
being to make this information simpler, more direct, and ultimately more
comprehensible.
At the time, Wurman gave an extremely precise definition of information architect
which still largely holds up today:
a. the individual who organizes the patterns inherent6 in data, making the complex clear; b.
a person who creates the structure or map of information which allows others to find their
personal paths to knowledge; c. the emerging 21st century professional occupation
addressing the needs of the age focused upon clarity, human understanding, and the science
of the organization of information.
Even though he was possibly mainly concerned with the static, visual design7 of large
quantities of information, his contribution was undoubtedly a major if unintended
source of inspiration in the initial modern re-framing of the field when it later took on
to the design of information on the Web (Wodtke 2002).
According to what he said to Dan Klyn in a recent series of interviews8, Wurman had
no master plan in mind when he rolled information architecture on the stage at the
national conference of the American Institute of Architects (AIA): he was just trying to
5Wurman published “Information Anxiety”, which might be considered his most information architecture-related book, in
1988. The book was expanded for its second edition and published in 2000 as “Information Anxiety 2” .
6See Resmini, A. (2011). Of Patterns and Structures. http://andrearesmini.com/blog/of-patterns-and-structures.
7See note 12.
8Klyn, D. (2009). Repost 2009: Conversation with Richard Saul Wurman. http://wildlyappropriate.com/?p=781.
37
RESMINI & ROSATI | A BRIEF HISTORY OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
“find patterns for himself”9. Neither was he interested in disseminating his ideas to a new
audience, nor in creating a new field or profession, and was actually quite surprised
and probably a little upset when he finally did find out what his pattern-finding
activities stirred up.
Wurman finally came to terms with him being considered part of the ongoing
information architecture conversation in 2010, when he was invited to keynote at the
11th ASIS&T IA Summit in Phoenix, Arizona10.
INFORMATION SYSTEMS
The information systems approach is tightly connected to the line of research that
developed in the 1980s and to the logic of what we identify today as information
systems and business informatics: how to solve problems of information management
within the larger business vision or logistic needs that drive organizations is the
primary concern.
9The interviews contain this brief passage: (Klyn) “Did you intend to create a movement within the field of architecture to
focus on information display and organization and such things?” (Wurman) “No”.
10 Richard Saul Wurman Keynote on Boxes and Arrows. http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/ia-summit-10-richard
JOURNALOFIA.ORG | ISSN 1903-7260
Figure 2: Wurman showing how to peel a banana on stage at the 11th ASIS&T
Information Architecture Summit in Phoenix, Arizona.
JOURNAL OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE | VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2
The widely recognized semantic shift towards user experience which followed the
publication of Rosenfeld and Morville seminal book has made “information systems
information architecture” a minority (if important) stance, which is still prominent in
large corporate settings and that produces conceptual friction whenever it is compared
with “user experience information architecture”, largely considered a somewhat less
relevant subset and synonym with “website development”.
Gene Leganza’s report on information architecture published for Forrester Research in
2010 well represents these views. The 20-odd page document clearly defines how the
information architect role is primarily an IT function whose main task is to enable
consistent access to the correct data, but goes on to consider that in an enterprise
hierarchy this might be better served by two different roles: one concerned with the
“structuring of all enterprise-wide information assets”, and that is enterprise IA”; the
other, with the design of “information for an individual Web site, portal, or application
UI”, and this is “user experience IA”, or “Web IA”.
Interestingly enough, Leganza also states that there is value in how information
architecture helps structure enterprise information which is still unfortunately not
evident to many an enterprise architect (with a 43% of them not really considering the
domain part of their strategies), and that this value “is not in attaining some abstract goal
of imposing order on disarray but in enabling the provisioning of the right information in the
appropriate context to the stakeholders who need it”.
This enterprise-layered view is not just Forrester’s: Carter (1999) defines information
architecture in business settings as
an holistic way of planning which meets the organization’s information needs and avoids
duplication, dispersion, and consolidation issues. The information architecture is the
collective term used to describe the various components of the overall information
infrastructure which take the business model and the component business processes and
deliver information systems that support and deliver it. Prime components are the data
architecture, the systems architecture and the computer architecture (Carter 1999).
From a company perspective, it seems just logical. This approach effectively connects
information architecture to the strategic company thinking which is behind the idea
of enterprise or enterprise-level information architecture in a way that “UX IA” has not
yet managed to do. At the same time though, it quickly moves the unique design
thinking which drives information architecture to abstract, user-centered problems
towards issues of data connections, bandwidth, costs, server topology, and storage limits
that are not normally part of the mindset of the information architect and that tend to
be rather specific and technological in nature.
39
RESMINI & ROSATI | A BRIEF HISTORY OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
INFORMATION SCIENCE
The information science approach is the one best represented by Rosenfeld and
Morville initial take on the field. In an interview with Scott Hill for O’Reilly in 200011,
they stated that
(i)n 1994, before the Web took the world by storm, we were teaching some of the first
academic and commercial courses about the Internet. We both believed the Internet would
become an important medium and that librarians had a great deal to offer this brave new
world of networked information environments.
Rosenfeld and Morville were not overtly familiar with Wurman’s work at the time. In
the words of Morville (2004) they
found (them)selves using the architecture metaphor with clients to highlight the importance
of structure and organization in website design. Lou got a gig writing the Web Architect
column for Web Review magazine, and I soon joined in. In 1996, a book titled Information
Architects appeared in our offices. We learned that a fellow by the name of Richard Saul
Wurman had coined the expression ‘information architect’ in 1975. After reading his book, I
remember thinking “this is not information architecture, this is information design”.
This is an accurate and insightful statement. Their initial view was entirely focused on
the new dynamic environment of the World Wide Web, and it certainly had little in
common with the more traditional, less-Internet based information design approach that
11 Hill, S. (2000). An Interview with Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville.
http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/web/news/infoarch_0100.html
JOURNALOFIA.ORG | ISSN 1903-7260
Figure 3: Lou Rosenfeld (left) and Peter Morville (right) in 2000, with Samantha Bailey, then
Vice President of Consulting Operations at Argus Associates. Photo courtesy of P. Morville.
JOURNAL OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE | VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2
Wurman outlined in his books. Organization, labeling, navigation, and search were the
touch points around which they structured their practice. Rosenfeld believed these
were the key concepts to address in order to
help people find and manage information more successfully. Organization systems are the
ways content can be grouped. Labeling systems are essentially what you call those content
groups. Navigation systems, like navigation bars and site maps, help you move around and
browse through the content. Searching systems help you formulate queries that can be
matched with relevant documents (Hill 2000).
Very famously, they remarked a few years later that the real difference they could see
between their view and Wurman’s, post hoc, was that for them information architecture
was very much the design of what was between the pages of a web site, meaning the
links, the structure, the connections, while for Wurman it seemed to be the design of
the pages themselves12. It could also be said that Rosenfeld and Morville designed for a
world of ever-changing, dynamic content, something somewhat unsurprisingly still
alien to Wurman’s vision.
Rosenfeld and Morville, and those many following along their initial LIS view, must be
credited for bringing in many of the core methodologies used for the design of
navigation, labeling, and site-structure. They offered the blooming community of
practice an extremely empirical and practical approach, and they single-handedly
brought user research and usability engineering into the core of mainstream IA tools.
While through the years their views on the subject evolved (as Rosenfeld is fond of
saying, they “certainly embraced other disciplines”), so far their seminal idea of
information architecture as the design of taxonomies, menus, and structures still
represents the mainstream and most accredited view of what the field is about,
especially for those outside the field itself.
PERVASIVE INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
Instability is what fuels the process (Soddu 1992)
Rosenfeld and Morville’s were met with enormous success, and in the late 1990s and
early 2000s the practice of information architecture was usually synonym with
designing web sites for the World Wide Web. As 2000 became 2005, things were
changing again. Users were entering the scene as producers (or prosumers, a term
acknowledging their mutated role as both consumers and producers of information),
12 For an interesting reverse view on this issue, see the conversation with Richard Saul Wurman published in this same issue of
the Journal of Information Architecture. My. (2011). Lifeboat #5: Richard Saul Wurman. Journal of Information
Architecture. Volume 3. Issue 2. Reprinted from My. (1976). What Do We Use for Lifeboats When the Ship Goes Down.
Harper & Row.
41
RESMINI & ROSATI | A BRIEF HISTORY OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
tagging was everywhere, and personal mobile devices and home appliances were
redrawing the boundaries of computing.
Even though a persistent thread kept information architecture tied to the creation of
Web-only content, and this was (and partly is) especially true if you move into LIS-
connected research, many started to consider that this was a limitation with little
rationale behind it: new problems needed to be addressed and information architecture
was moving into new territories, becoming a boundary practice whose contributions
were crucial where complexity, unfamiliarity and information overload stood in the
way of the user, regardless of the very nature of the environment being designed. For
these people13, information architecture was moving beyond the confines of the Web.
What was appropriate for simple hypertext systems in the late 1990s is certainly not
even barely sufficient anymore. Simply being able to be connected while being on the
move means there is no certainty of the physical context in which a certain piece of
information is produced, remediated, or consumed, turning each information
architecture into a huge design challenge. There is no switching off if information
follows us in real-time when we walk out the door: as a result, the way we interact, the
data we need, how we allow ourselves to be distracted by the information we receive,
the urgency or timing of warnings and reminders change all the time.
13 Among them Adam Greenfield, Peter Morville, and Joel Grossman.
JOURNALOFIA.ORG | ISSN 1903-7260
Figure 4: A timeline for classic information architecture derived from Ronda Leon. Resmini &
Rosati, Pervasive Information Architecture, Morgan Kauffman
JOURNAL OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE | VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2
This marks a new stage, a new phase, where information architecture becomes
pervasive, and starts to address the design of information spaces as a process, opening
up a conversation with ubiquitous computing and service design, and where the
information architect recognizes gathering, organizing, and presenting information as
tasks analogous to those an architect faces in designing a building, as both “design
spaces for human beings to live, work, and play in”14. If the architect has to
ascertain those needs (i.e., must gather information about the needs); organize the needs into
a coherent pattern that clarifies their nature and interactions, and; design a building that
will - by means of its rooms, fixtures, machines, and layout, i.e., flow of people and
materials - meet the occupants’ needs (Wurman 1997)
then the information architect has a definitely similar goal in information space, as
presenting information for a purpose is an architectural task. And places in cyberspace
such as Facebook or Twitter are the places where people spend a significant amount of
their time every day.
When we increasingly experience the world through one or many disembodied self
(Inalhan & Finch 2004); when we live in a world where relationships with people,
places, objects, and companies are shaped by semantics and not only by physical
14 With interesting repercussions as well. See Kolson Hurley, A. (2010). I’m an Architect. Architect.
http://www.architectmagazine.com/architects/im-an-architect.aspx.
43
Figure 5: Moving into pervasive information architecture
RESMINI & ROSATI | A BRIEF HISTORY OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
proximity; when our digital identities become persistent even when we are not sitting
at a desk and in front of a computer screen, then we are reshaping reality.
Conversely, we need to reshape information architecture to better serve our changing
needs. What will information architecture be five years from now, it is difficult to say,
but one thing we know: it will be neither big nor little. It will be broad.
REFERENCES
Amdahl, G. M., Blaauw, G. A., & Brooks, F. P. (1964). Architecture of the IBM
System/360. IBM Journal for Research and Development, 8(2). (Reprinted in IBM
Journal for Research and Development, 44(1/2), 2000).
Brancheau, J. C. & Wetherbe, J. C. (1986). Information architectures: methods
and practice. Information Processing & Management, 22(6). Pp. 453–463.
Carter, H. (1999). Information architecture. Work Study, 48(5), 182–185.
http://dx.doi .org/10.1108/00438029910286026.
Evernden, R., & Evernden, E. (2003). Information First: Integrating Knowledge
and Information Architecture for Business Advantage. Butterworth-Heinemann .
Greenfield, A. (2006). Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing.
New Riders.
Grossman, J. (2006). Designing for bridge experiences. UX Matters, June 30.
http://www.uxmatters .com/mt/archives/2006/06/designing-for-bridge-
experiences.php
Hearst, M. (1996). Research in Support of Digital Libraries at Xerox PARC. D-
Lib Mazagine. http://www.dlib.org/dlib/may96/05hearst.html.
Hill, S. (2000). An interview with Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville. O’Reilly
Media. http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/web/news/infoarch_0100.html.
Inalhan, G., & Finch, E. (2004). Place Attachment and Sense of Belonging.
Facilities, 22(5/6). Pp. 120–128.
Leganza, G. (2010). Topic overview: Information architecture. Forrester
Research. Available at http://
www.forrester.com/rb/Research/topic_overview_information_architecture/q/id/5
5951/t/2.
Morrogh, E. (2003). Information Architecture – an Emerging 21st Century
Profession. Prentice Hall.
JOURNALOFIA.ORG | ISSN 1903-7260
JOURNAL OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE | VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2
Morville, P. (2004). A brief history of information architecture. In Gilchrist, &
Mahon (Eds.), Information Architecture: Designing Information Environments
for Purpose (p. xiii). Neal-Schuman Publishers.
Morville, P. (2005). Ambient Findability. O’Reilly Media.
Pake, G. E. (1985). Research at Xerox PARC: a founder’s assessment. IEEE
Spectrum, 22(10), Pp.54–61 .
Resmini, A. & Rosati, L. (2011). Pervasive Information Architecture. Morgan
Kauffman.
Ronda León, R. (2008). Arquitectura de Información: análisis histórico-
conceptual. No Solo Usabilidad Journal. Available at
http://www.nosolousabilidad.com/articulos/historia_arquitectura_informacion.ht
m.
Rosenfeld, L. & Morville, P. (1998). Information Architecture for the World Wide
Web. O’Reilly.
Smith, D. K. & Alexander, R. C. (1988). Fumbling the Future: How Xerox
Invented Then Ignored the First Personal Computer. William Morrow & Co.
Weitzmann, L. M. (1995). The Architecture of Information: Interpretation and
Presentation of Information in Dynamic Environments. Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/29085.
Wodtke, C. (2002). Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web. New
Riders.
Wurman, R. S. (1997). Information Architects. Graphis Inc.
Wurman, R. S. (2000). Information Anxiety 2. Que.
45
RESMINI & ROSATI | A BRIEF HISTORY OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
JOURNALOFIA.ORG | ISSN 1903-7260
... Sense-making and understanding are central concepts in IA, both in its mainstream form and that described in Pervasive IA, although the latter contains a far broader proposition. While contemporary IA in its application in digital design originates from the field of library and information science (LIS), ideas related to sense-making in IA date back to Richard Saul Wurman's work as early as the 1970s (Resmini & Rosati, 2012), 4 however his work related to this topic largely found its way into the field of information design. These perspectives are that which Kolko draws upon, as previously noted. ...
... Discussion of IA as a troubled, emergent discipline draws on the article Maturing a Practice by Hobbs, et al. (2010) and Lacerda and Lima-Marques's (2014) Information Architecture as a Discipline -A Methodological Approach. A Brief History of Information Architecture by Resmini and Rosati (2012) is referred too, complimented by a very recent account of a cultural split occurring within the field (Hobbs, 2020a). This split is presented as having marginalised contemporary advances in practice and theory in the field, in favour of an incumbent Mainstream IA. ...
... The term Information Architecture has only appeared fairly recently, since the 1960s, and coincides with the emergence of computer and computer-related technologies (Resmini & Rosati, 2012). Today, the practice with its concerns for the role and use of information in the design and development of products and services, is largely related to fields which continue to engage with information technologies either directly or indirectly (Hobbs & Fenn, 2019). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
This research project explores the use of Information Architecture (IA) in Design Thinking for the purposes of ideating solutions to wicked problems. A constructivist account of IA is advanced in this study offering new perspectives, distinct to those offered by the mainstream IA employed in digital design, heralding from Library and Information Science. This reframing of IA creates a new space to explore what value may be found lying dormant in the relationship between IA and DT, and Design in general. The Research Through Design (RTD) methodology serves to support the constructive nature of this inquiry. In RTD, the researcher operates both in the role of designer and researcher, executing and critically reflecting upon a design project. For this study, a design project was conducted to address the complex social problem of addiction as it manifests in Johannesburg, South Africa. A new form of IA, Conceptual IA (CIA), is notionally developed to observe and discuss IA when enacted in Ideation following the DT process-method. The findings and conclusions offered emerge from qualitative analysis of observations and reflection upon the design project’s enactment. Within its scope, the study reveals that IA, as reframed, can be understood as operating tacitly within design (and the world) as that which contains and transmits socio-ontological meaning, decoded, recoded and encoded in design. Explicit use of IA methods, tools and techniques greatly enhanced synthetic cognition across the whole of the DT process-method enacted. Furthermore, CIA conducted in Ideation provided the concept for a social systems solution central to a strategy design which synthetically resolved the challenges presented by the wicked problem of addiction. IA and design developed to realise the concept, as blueprints, describe how use of the system in the world triggers a transformation and transcendence of this concept: in use, the IA of the concept being embedded within the structural form of the designed object, comes to be a new socio-ontological phenomena. In this way, a (speculative) theoretical account is given for how an instrumental / ontological mediation of social reality may occur, at scale, by IA employed in Design.
... 3 To be referred to herein as 'the Thesis' (Hobbs, Applying Information Architecture In Design Thinking: Ideating Solutions To The Wicked-Problem Of Addiction, 2021). 4 In digital design, IA (Rosenfeld, Morville, & Arango, 2015) is best described as a derivative application of, and from, Library and Information Science (Resmini & Rosati, 2012) frequently enacted within User Experience Design. Pervasive IA (Resmini & Rosati, 2011) positions IA for cross-channel, systemic design at similar levels of abstraction to Service Design. ...
... 3 To be referred to herein as 'the Thesis' (Hobbs, Applying Information Architecture In Design Thinking: Ideating Solutions To The Wicked-Problem Of Addiction, 2021). 4 In digital design, IA (Rosenfeld, Morville, & Arango, 2015) is best described as a derivative application of, and from, Library and Information Science (Resmini & Rosati, 2012) frequently enacted within User Experience Design. Pervasive IA (Resmini & Rosati, 2011) positions IA for cross-channel, systemic design at similar levels of abstraction to Service Design. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper reflects upon new possibilities for strategy design. Information architecture (IA) is reconsidered as a tool for meaning-making with relevant links to discursive design methods. Together, these design forms provide an extension of synthetic reach into complexity and synthetic integrity to addressing deep socio-cultural change. A review of a design project conducted to address the challenges of addiction forms the basis of the discussion. Ontological complexity is revealed to be a defining feature of the problem of addiction and is considered in reference to the recent emphasis in design into considering human experiences. IA and discursive design are then discussed in reference to design artefacts created in ideating a strategy design solution. The paper concludes by offering an outline of a method and model for consideration as a pre-pattern derived from said project. Whether towards transformation or the sustainability of social ontologies, the solutions presented stand to assist design in theoretical, educational and practical terms.
Article
In the field of information architecture, practice keeps pace as the domains and supporting technologies for digital design expand, leading to occasional updates of theory to account for change. Pervasive information architecture expanded tenets of clarity and findability from classical information architecture to account for placemaking as information began shape-shifting across devices and situations. This article suggests that, building on classical and pervasive information architecture, the field is ready to expand to ecological information architecture. This time, in addition to situational changes (new technologies and domains), the discovery of more facets in information as the raw material of design, and information behavior, drawn from adjacent fields, play major roles. Even as ecological information architecture is introduced, glimmers of what the next reframing must address are already surfacing. As information architects, we welcome this ongoing discovery as we look to situate designs coherently within our actors’ shifting surroundings, and engage them with information in ways that feel deeply human.
Thesis
Full-text available
With the rise of the world wide web, many organisations publish large knowledge bases as online informative content, enabling access for their current and potential stakeholders, customers, and service users. Providing universal access to information is a key feature of many national laws, ensuring that content is accessible for the intended audience, however there is little focus on its informativeness. Whilst there are many prior academic and industry frameworks for assessing the success of information systems, many of these focus on facets of the system itself or task completion, rather than the quality of the content. Evolutions of the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) have guided practitioners towards accessibility, neglecting the other attributes of information quality.
Preprint
Purpose-Government entities often implement automated records management systems, often without a clear governing framework to facilitate such automation. This study aims to explore the role played by information architecture (IA) in records automation in Botswana and propose a guiding framework in the context of e-government. Design/methodology/approach-This qualitative study uses a focused literature review to study the importance of IA in records automation in e-government. Findings-Without proper IA, information organization including retrieval/access to records becomes difficult. Practically, this would practically and negatively affect process automation in e-government solutions. Research limitations/implications-The proposed framework can guide e-government record automation in Botswana. However, its limitation lies in the fact that it has not been tested, thereby limiting its practicality until tested empirically. Practical implications-The proposed framework can be used to inform record automation management processes in the realm of Botswana's e-government project. Originality/value-The proposed framework contributes to the body of knowledge on the automation of records and e-government in Botswana specifically and Africa in general.
Article
Human-induced climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. The Helmholtz Association is making essential research contributions to mitigate the causes and impacts of climate change and find ways to adapt. The “Net-Zero-2050” project, the Cluster I of the Helmholtz Climate Initiative, scientifically investigates and evaluates strategies and new ways to reduce, extract and permanently store carbon emissions. Two digital knowledge transfer products (DKTPs) were developed to present the complex research results comprehensively: (1) the “Net-Zero-2050 Web-Atlas” provides information on methods and technologies for CO2 reduction and possible reduction paths; (2) the “Soil Carbon App” provides simulated soil carbon data to estimate climate protection potentials through different land management methods. Both formats intend to support users in making informed decisions and developing appropriate climate neutrality strategies. During the two DKTPs development, common main challenges were identified regarding concepts and stakeholder involvement. Along with that, specific approaches to solving the tasks could be distilled for each product. In the still-evolving arena of digital knowledge transfer, no standard methods can be applied. At the same time, communication of climate research results to decision-makers is becoming more and more relevant. This paper extracts the challenges and gives approaches to facilitate a transfer of the gained experience to future similar projects.
Book
Full-text available
This book TECHNO-BUSINESS DATA MANAGEMENT prepares students of Business Management specialization, Data Base Management, Knowledge Management, and students specializing to become data manager and other students of management who specializes in Computer Applications, Business Data, DBMS Specialists, Commerce, Entrepreneurship Management, BBA, MBA, or Business Strategy related subjects, Entrepreneurial practitioners, and includes the dynamic concepts of newer Entrepreneurial Strategies happening across the world, and also caters to the syllabus for BBA and MBA of all the leading Indian Universities specifically Bangalore University, Anna University, Bharathiar University, Kerala University, Calicut University, and other Indian Universities. These concepts in this book will prepare all Entrepreneurial professionals who are evolving into higher-level professionals who can use this book for their challenging and rewarding career. The readers can apply these concepts in their day today management strategy functions to have effective practical advancements in their career.
Book
Full-text available
This book TECHNO-BUSINESS DATA MANAGEMENT prepares students of Business Management specialization, Data Base Management, Knowledge Management, and students specializing to become data manager and other students of management who specializes in Computer Applications, Business Data, DBMS Specialists, Commerce, Entrepreneurship Management, BBA, MBA, or Business Strategy related subjects, Entrepreneurial practitioners, and includes the dynamic concepts of newer Entrepreneurial Strategies happening across the world, and also caters to the syllabus for BBA and MBA of all the leading Indian Universities specifically to Bangalore University, Anna University, Bharathiar University, Kerala University, Calicut University, and other Indian Universities. These concepts in this book will prepare all Entrepreneurial professionals who are evolving into higher level professionals who can use this book for their challenging and rewarding career. The readers can apply these concepts in their day to day management strategy functions to have effective practical advancements in their career.
Article
Full-text available
Objetivo: Descreve o processo utilizado para integração e reuso de dados para o povoamento semiautomático de dissertações e teses no Repositório Institucional da UTFPR (RIUT), a partir dos Sistemas Corporativos da UTFPR. Metodologia: Realizou-se um estudo de caso na Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná (UTFPR), e a observação participante como método de investigação qualitativa para análise dos dados disponíveis nos sistemas de informação corporativos a serem integrados. Resultados: Apresenta, com base na Arquitetura da Informação, a estruturação do fluxo de entrega de dissertações e teses e o estudo da camada de dados dos Sistemas Corporativos da UTFPR, bem como a compatibilização e a conversão para o perfil de aplicação do RIUT, visando ao povoamento semiautomático de dissertações e teses em repositório institucional. Tais resultados possibilitaram desenvolver o processo de integração e reuso de dados entre os Sistemas Corporativos da UTFPR e o Repositório Institucional. Conclusões: O reuso de dados já existentes nos Sistemas Corporativos para o povoamento semiautomático de dissertações e teses no Repositório Institucional gera benefícios múltiplos, dentre os quais destacam-se: agilidade e precisão, veracidade dos dados, desoneração do aluno e dos bibliotecários, preservação da memória e ampliação da visibilidade da produção acadêmica, científica e tecnológica, com vistas a fomentar o impacto e inserção social desses resultados, além de reduzir os esforços humanos anteriormente despendidos para a atividade.
Book
As physical and digital interactions intertwine, new challenges for digital product designers and developers, as well as, industrial designers and architects are materializing. While well versed in designing navigation, organization, and labelling of websites and software, professionals are faced the crucial challenge of how to apply these techniques to information systems that cross communication channels that link the digital world to the physical world. Pervasive Information Architecture provides examples showing why and how one would: Model and shape information to adapt itself to users' needs, goals, and seeking strategies Reduce disorientation and increase legibility and way-finding in digital and physical spaces Alleviate the frustration associated with choosing from an ever-growing set of information, services, and goods Suggest relevant connections between pieces of information, services and goods to help users achieve their goals. *Master agile information structures while meeting the unique user needs on such devices as smart phones, GPS systems, and tablets *Find out the 'why' and 'how' of pervasive information architecture (IA) through detailed examples and real-world stories *Learn about trade-offs that can be made and techniques for even the most unique design challenges
Article
The first director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center tells how his management philosophy worked in launching the center and making it a success. The three principles followed by the director were to (1) recruit the best, most creative researchers you can find; (2) give the researchers the most supportive environment you can provide, including ample amounts of the most advanced instrumentation; and (3) work the business needs of the corporation into the program through selective budgetary preferences. The way in which the director recruited, organized the research, and selected the technologies is recounted.
Article
The architecture of the newly announced IBM System/360 features four innovations: 1. An approach to storage which permits and exploits very large capacities, hierarchies of speeds, read-only storage for microprogram control, flexible storage protection, and simple program relocation. 2. An input/output system offering new degrees of concurrent operation, compatible channel operation, data rates approaching 5,000,000 characters/second, integrated design of hardware and software, a new low-cost, multiple-channel package sharing main-frame hardware, new provisions for device status information, and a standard channel interface between central processing unit and input/output devices. 3. A truly general-purpose machine organization offering new supervisor facilities, powerful logical processing operations, and a wide variety of data formats. 4. Strict upward and downward machine-language compatibility over a line of six models having a performance range factor of 50. This paper discusses in detail the objectives of the design and the rationale for the main features of the architecture. Emphasis is given to the problems raised by the need for compatibility among central processing units of various size and by the conflicting demands of commercial, scientific, real-time, and logical information processing. A tabular summary of the architecture is shown in the Appendices.
Article
This article has surveyed some of the recent activities at PARC related to digital libraries, focussing on document capture, information access and visualization, and middleware. The set of specific projects described here is representative of the range of ongoing activities, but is by no means an exhaustive list of all relevant PARC projects. Missing, for example, are significant activities in web-based authoring, high-resolution displays, AAA (authentication, authorization, accounting), multilingual technology, and electronic commerce-based document services. Information about some of these can be found via the PARC home page.
Article
Examines the concept of “place attachment” as defined in various disciplines and develops an effective conceptual approach that can be applied to facilities management. Describes the development of a model-matchmaking process adapted from Passini's model of cognitive mapping. Findings that the emergence of the new economy is undermining our ability to form attachments with people, places and companies. However, one of the unintended effects of this is that it has strengthened the value of place and aroused a longing for community. Moreover, loyalty to an organisation is increasingly determined by social and place attachment. Proposes that further research needs to be undertaken to “engineer out” the negative impacts of flexibility associated with loss of place. States that place attachment presents a challenging view of the world that is contrary to all the received wisdom in facilities management, where flexibility has always assumed an unchallenged position in relation to buildings and people. Concludes that this research area presents many pragmatic design and operational questions for facilities managers.
Article
Most organisations, in spite of the attention and investment focused on ERP software, have a number of discrete computer systems that operate independently of one another. In addition to the problems of unmanageability, this results in an inability to fully exploit the information resources available. The concept of an information architecture, which draws on the architectural profession, is an attempt to focus discipline on the design and building of information systems, to facilitate prioritisation and decision making, in support of business strategy.
Article
The concept of an information architecture is explored as a fundamental building block underlying the development of effective information systems. An information architecture is a personnel-, organization- and technology-independent profile of the major information categories used within an enterprise. The profile shows how the information categories relate to business processes and how the information categories must be interconnected to facilitate support for decision makers. Much of the material presented is based on the results of work with a panel of experts. The panel was made up of senior IS executives who have developed, implemented and maintained global/corporate information architectures. The paper describes what an information architecture is, why it is important and how it fits into the overall IS planning process. Methodologies for building such an architecture are discussed. The problems involved in developing, implementing and maintaining an information architecture and the benefits that can accrue are discussed citing several case examples. Finally, prescriptive recommendations based on the experience of members of the panel are offered.