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Signal vs. Noise
Sweet. Matt Jones has published a document detailing the design process undergone by BBCi to redesign the BBC home page.
Wow. The discussion on Christina's site over Adam's interview with Nathan is still going on.
Meryl K. Evans interviews Lou and Peter on Digital Web.
James Spahr offers some sassy slogans for IA's. He doesn't actually call them sassy, but the alliteration gives it some added sass. The last one would make a nice punchy tagline for an IA action/adventure sitcom.
Tom pointed to What's Your problem?, in which Mark Bernstein observes that a lot of IAs say that most web sites suck and that "Trying to establish a profession on the foundation of a myth is, I think, a tactical error."
The ZING Initiative (Z39.50 International Next Generation), under the auspices of the Z39.50 Maintenance Agency at the Library of Congress, is pleased to announce Version 1.0 of SRW and CQL.
SRW ("Search/Retrieve for the Web") is a web-service-based protocol which aims to integrate access across networked resources, and to promote interoperability between distributed databases by providing a common platform. The underpinnings of the protocol are formed by bringing together more than 20 years experience from the collective implementers of the Z39.50 protocol with recent developments in the web-technologies arena. SRW features both SOAP and URL-based access mechanisms (SRW and SRU respectively) to provide for a wide range of possible clients. It uses CQL, the Common Query Language, which provides a powerful yet intuitive means of formulating searches. The protocol mandates the use of open and industry-supported standards XML and XML Schema, and where appropriate, Xpath and SOAP.
The SRW Initiative recognizes the importance of Z39.50 (as currently defined and deployed) for business communication, and focuses on getting information to the user. SRW provides semantics for searching databases containing metadata and objects, both text and non-text. Building on Z39.50 semantics enables the creation of gateways to existing Z39.50 systems while reducing the barriers to new information providers, allowing them to make their resources available via a standard search and retrieve service.
SRW, SRU, and CQL have been developed by an international team, minimizing cross-language pitfalls and other potential internationalization problems.
The SRW and CQL version 1.0 specifications will remain stable for a six- to nine-month implementation-experience period. During this period developers are encouraged to implement the specification (see the implementors page at http://www.loc.gov/srw/implementors.html), join the list of implementors, participate in interoperability testing, and help develop the next version, 1.1. Please direct questions, comments, and suggestions to email@example.com.
That's what Sean Coon is saying at apperceptive's uxDesign. I agree with his contention that vocal IA's should be spending effort cross pollenating and talking big IA. Lou has been doing a lot of that lately as do some Adaptive Path who do IA as one component of their work. But even with the fiery debates that have been going on, I still feel there is a need for something like AIfIA, if only to support IA's that don't have a steady and constant lifeline of IA peers -- I suspect that isolated IA's, like those that have moved into in-house positions with small IA groups will feel this. I also feel that evangelism can make the people holding the purse strings see the light and spend money on IA where it's needed.
Apparently some people also believe that IA needs an egomaniacal figurehead. I agree with Thomas Alison on that one. I've said that a few times in the past few weeks to people I've spoken to about getting business decision makers to understand IA. When I say business decision makers, I mean in the big and maybe boring brick and mortar corporations who need in house IA's to work on stuff like enterprise IA.
Don't know where Sean's rockstar theory comes from. I never wanted to be a rockstar and I never really worked in a traditional library.
Lou posted two presentations on his site for speaking engagements he had at the London AIGA-ED group and at ASIS&T 2002 in Philadelphia. The first is on enterprise IA presentation and the second on search log analysis. Ann Light summarizes the enterprise IA presentation at usabilitynews.com.
At one point Shedroff also mentions Information Theory, stating that more IAs should be conversant in it. I found that amusing. I know that many of us come from LIS backgrounds, so there is no doubt that many IAs have some knowledge of that literature, but am wondering how they factor that into the work they do. For me, the experience of studying and working on Information Retrieval is informed by a lot of IR literature, but as a generalist, I rarely point to specific theories in order to make decisions. Shedroff also mentions Wurman, but I have no idea what Wurman has to do with Information Theory. Maybe this has to do with the fact that he lumps information architecture with information design.
In any case, it was a very open conversation -- with opinions that should be aired in the public in this manner. Looking forward to part 2.
Jeff Lash tells us why Usability is not IA in the November, 2002 IAnthything goes column of Digital Web.
Peter discusses why there is a need for the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture.
But we hope to go much further than that. If we listen carefully to people's reactions, if we involve outsiders in the discussion, if we make connections to other communities and disciplines, then we can learn how to improve the practice of information architecture.
IA has not garnered the attention of the business world as Usability has. We have not had a provocative figure head that instill fear in business decision makers that if you don't consider IA, you will lose money -- not that I think this is a good idea. We do have some provocative people out there, but they haven't had as long a history as Jakob and haven't been as prolific in the mainstream business/management rags. This is where we have to make some great inroads. We generally tend not to be as loud individually (unless your name is Zia) so the collective voice of the AIfIA will hopefully help to get our message out there better.
An excerpt from the first chapter of Earl Morrogh's text book Information Architecture: An Emerging 21st Century Profession appears on B&A in the article, Information Architecture: From Craft to Profession.
I liked his succint definition of IA.
I've been neglecting the main sources for IA info lately. Thanks, Lou, for reminding me to look. :)
After about 7 1/2 months in the making, the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture offcially launches today. The AIfIA was formed as a non-profit organization with the goals of advancing and promoting information architecture. For more information on why the AIfIA was started and what the AIfIA will be doing, please check out the aifia.org site or view the press release. Lou gives a little background on the name:
Well, I thought, why not just list all three of these great IA books. Christina and Jesse currently hold the spotlight. And as Jeff points out, the polar bear is still relatively new. Seeing these great recent publications in one place just underscores for me the growth of this craft.
I just read Chris Farnum's article in Information Management Journal (not online I don't think), which describes IA for the benefit of traditional information managers. He did a very good summary of the typical IA role and methodology. Here's the abstract:
Provoked, to say the least, by Jeff's new column in Digital Web.
"User-centered information architecture is a myth"; attention to user requirements has "overshadowed the fact that there are business needs that need to be addressed."
The article continues in a more conventional tone, but clearly, there's a lot here that I just flat out disagree with - especially in the context of this discussion.
What say you?