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Taxonomy of Thorendal » 2005 » July

Taxonomy of Thorendal

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July 9, 2005

What is an information architect?

by Thorendal

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I can hardly claim to be capable of giving a consice nor precise definition of what an information architect is. But I find it interesting that no one (that I have met at least) is able to.

In my world there excist two kinds of information architects: The very practical one and the more abstract one - so who is who, and who does what?

The practical ones
I regularly go to this Information Architect meetup in Copenhagen. Here I talk to quite a few information architects. What makes me wonder though is, that all the others in the group are working in a practial perspective with information architecture. In other words they very often work with the graphical stuf and how to structure interfaces, and functionalities on websites. A lot of method is practised in this area I know, but as I understand it, it is very much like testing-adjusting and the methods behind that kind of work which is used.
Definitely I discipline I have much respect for.

The abstract ones
My working title is information architect too, my education is a candidate degree in library and information science from the Royal School of Library and Information Science. I have focused my education on information and knowledge management, systems for information and knowledge management, communication of information and knowledge, and standards for handling information and knowledge.

So what does that make me able to actually do? Well data and information organization and structuring (my definition of knowledge makes it impossible to structure - one can only support handling knowledge).
That means that I know things about taxonomies, thesauri, and conctrolled vocabularies. I know about users seach patterns and relevance assesments, as it is tightly related to the organization of information. I know about metadata and standards for handling metadata.

Still none the wiser
I don’t know which kind of information architects are needed the most, and I don’t really understand either, that two so different groups of work areas are called the same. I have no suggestions to what the “practical” group should be called, as I find it logical that my domain is called information architecture - and the “pracical” ones would say the same about their area. Maybe they shoud both be called information architects - it just seems to confuse people as my expirience is that they think that all information architects are practical ones.

Last time we met in the meetup group we were actually talking about the situation that I was the only one out of ten people that night that were working with abstract information architecture. Another - for me bizarre - thing was, that I was the only girl present, and I usually am. What is that all about? Where are all the girls? (About 60% of all the students at the Royal School of Library and Information science are girls! And in genereal it is to be said that about 60% of the people who finish a long education are girls too!)

Anyways, I just don’t understand the situation and the confusion in the two rather different disciplines, and I have come across no one who has been able to explain to me me, why the domian has been split up in this way - if in fact it is one domain…

Filed under Taxonomy at 10:19 am
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July 7, 2005


by Thorendal

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I have only recently started to use Skype, which is an IP telephone program. It is free of charge and can be downloaded here


It only takes a few minutes, and you can take my word for it, cause I am pretty helpless with most things like that.

For many people it is old news, but I am really fascinated by this possibility that Skype gives as it is so easy to use. Messenger is easy as well, but the sound is not at all as good as on Skype and the program is very often not possible to use.

Filed under General at 10:08 pm
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