[7]Info Architecture - Module 7: Information Architecture...

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Module 7: Information Architecture What is information architecture? There is no one clear definition of information architecture. Fundamentally, it is the science of structuring information classification systems to maximize ease of use and efficiency of information seeking and retrieval. IA is essentially an outgrowth of traditional classification schemes but has expanded beyond them to encompass the emerging structure of online information as well as standard print-based materials. Most of this discussion will center on IA and the World Wide Web but will not be limited to them. IA as a distinct field is a relatively new phenomenon, dating only from the mid 1990s. The need for information organization is not new, of course. As we have seen, from the earliest days of libraries there have been various organizational schemes created to help librarians and library users efficiently locate needed information. But with the developments in computerized information storage and retrieval, and most especially with the rapid adoption of the World Wide Web, there has been recognition of the need for a specific type of professional whose area of expertise is specifically creating information structures. IA is easy to confuse with usability and interface design, but the two are not synonymous. Usability generally focuses on interfaces and interactions between users and pre-created structures to maximize their use. IA focuses more on the structure itself. As an example, think of locating a book in the Perry-Caste eda Library. The architecture of its organization is founded primarily upon the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules and, for some older volumes, the Dewey Decimal System. The interface for locating materials is UTNetCat and the labels inside the physical building indicating on which shelves materials may be located. Information architecture refers to this structuring, rather than the means of locating materials once they have been classified. ______________________________________________________________________ ______________ Why has Information Architecture become a distinct discipline? Why has IA become its own field rather than a sub-field within information science? Primarily because of the growth of the World Wide Web, the rise of online databases and other electronic information storage, and the identification of the need for current information in most areas of business and commerce. Just as the post-WWII era's emphasis on information as vital to security and prosperity led to the recognition of information science as distinct from librarianship, the proliferation of online information systems, most with their own organizational schemes and retrieval systems, has created the information architect. Inefficient design of information systems leads to frustration and lack of productivity.
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[7]Info Architecture - Module 7: Information Architecture...

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