November 2006 Archives

Information Architecture 3.0

In response to recent attacks and the Web 2.0 phenomenon, I've written Information Architecture 3.0. If I'm wrong about my predictions, at least I'll have time to write more than one Semantics article a year.

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The Tagging Book

Two of my favorite information architects, Gene Smith and Liz Danzico, are seeking case studies for their tagging book. Rumor has it, there are some very smart Everything is Miscellaneous kinda people involved. So, if you're ready to get fabulously famous, please contact Gene Smith directly. Cheers!

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A Polar Bear for Christmas

The third edition of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web written by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville (that's me) is in stock at Amazon. You've gotta love the description from the O'Reilly marketing folks:

The post-Ajaxian Web 2.0 world of wikis, folksonomies, and mashups makes well-planned information architecture even more essential.

Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Third Edition

In celebration, here's a sneak peek at the preface:

The mind is slow to unlearn what it learnt early. - Seneca

Since 1994, when we first began organizing web sites, we have enjoyed a rare opportunity to participate in the birth of a new discipline. In the early days, we were pioneers and evangelists, exhorting web designers to learn about library science, even as we struggled to apply traditional principles in a new medium. To improve our craft, we embraced relevant fields such as human-computer interaction, integrating user research and usability engineering into the process. And to spread the word, we spoke at conferences, wrote the Web Architect column, and in 1998, published the first "polar bear" book on information architecture.

In the intervening years, it's been exciting to see information architecture mature into an established profession and an international community of practice. We have all learned so much from our work and from one another. And therein lies one of our biggest challenges. As our body of knowledge grows deeper, our discipline becomes more resistant to change. Individually and collectively, we find it harder to unlearn.

And yet, unlearn we must, for technology relentlessly transforms the playing field, changing not just the answers but the questions as well. In a post-Ajaxian Web 2.0 world of wikis, folksonomies, and mashups, how do we structure for co-creation? How do we document the rich interfaces of web applications? How do we design for multiple platforms and mobile devices? What has changed, and what remains the same?

In writing the third edition, it was these questions that kept us awake at night. There are no easy answers. We have done our best to balance old and new. We have addressed emerging technologies while maintaining a focus on fundamentals. And, we have tried to emphasize goals and approaches over specific tactics or technologies. In this way, we hope to provide not only knowledge about information architecture, but a framework that will enable you to learn and unlearn over an extended period of time.

As a member of UXNet, the polar bear is deeply, devoutly interfaith by nature, so whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, this is the perfect gift for your favorite information architect, interaction designer, or web developer.

Act Now While Supplies (And Free Shipping) Last. Happy Holidays!

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IA Retreat in Chile

Thanks to our intrepid leader, Javier Velasco, the IA Retreat in Santa Cruz, Chile was a tremendous success. The people were warm, smart, interesting, fun, and very knowledgeable about information architecture and user experience. The Pisco Sours weren't bad either.

Information Architecture Retreat

If you couldn't be there, you can read a nice overview by Jorge Arango, view the photos and presentations, and even watch the movie. Podcasts from the subsequent Encounter will be posted soon.

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Information Architecture Travels

Tomorrow, I leave for Government CIO at the Hotel del Coronado. Then, after a stop in Washington, I'm off to Chile for the 1st Latin American IA Retreat and the 7th Society & Information Technologies Encounter.

Information Architecture Travels

I'm looking forward to hanging out with an international mix of IAs again, and will be very happy to leave the snows of Ann Arbor for the warm, summery weather of San Diego, Santiago, and Santa Cruz.

Strange Connections

The 2006 edition of Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines is available for print or purchase.

It won't be long before whereistim goes mainstream, but for now, Verizon's offering looks pretty lame.

Research shows that performing 5 acts of kindness in a single day can make you happy. So, if you're feeling blue, head over to my Amazon wishlist and send your happiness index soaring through the roof.

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My copy of Worldchanging arrived yesterday.


It's worth buying for the packaging alone. Simply beautiful. The book sure is heavy. But it won't be the longest I ever read. If you're not going to buy the book (which you should), you should at least check out

Strange Connections

I often find the email messages people send to tell me about reviews they've written are even nicer than the reviews:

Greetings Peter!

First off, I wanted to say THANKS for a great book. I found that I bookmarked so many different sections for re-reading and diving deeper. My hopes weren't set high when I initially picked out this book, but it came with strong recommendation. Now I know why. This is, hands down, the best book I have read in the past 3 months. Your writing style and the progression of the book made it hard for me to put it down. Sometimes, I found myself reading bits and pieces out loud to my wife because I thought they were very well articulated.

I have posted a review on my website.

Thanks again for the great book. I'll be using much of the information I have found to better refine our internal search engine at Barbour Publishing.

God Bless,
Nate Klaiber
Barbour Publishing
Web Developer / Programmer

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Research Beyond Google

For librarians, teachers, and parents frustrated by students' fast food approach to information consumption, Research Beyond Google is a very useful guide to "119 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources."

Since information that's hard to find will remain information that's hardly found, the only reasonable approach is to improve the findability of high quality content. So, if someone would create a Google Custom Search with these 119 resources, like Peter Van Dijck's, then we'd be all set!

Strange Connections

Neighboroo gets my vote for mashup of the day.

A provocative perspective on Ambient Findability.

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