RE: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing

Subject: RE: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: 'TechWhirl' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com" <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2016 21:15:01 +0000

Thanks, Mark, very interesting.

You'll get a kick out of this: the very post you link is one I had PDF'ed back then for further study because of the "battle" of sorts that you had with Michael Priestley in the comments.

Unfortunately I never got the chance to reread the whole thing (read most of it once), but I'll need to take a look at that again. I want to get a better sense of what you mean by "bottom-up information architecture."

Appreciate these insights. I know you're on to something -- ! -- I just have not been able to figure out how to implement it yet.

Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com [mailto:mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 12:58 PM
To: Janoff, Steven <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>; 'TechWhirl' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: RE: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing

Steve, that's an interesting question. I think the simplest answer might be that an Enterprise Content Management system *has* an Information Architecture (or that it should have one).

Enterprise content management does not seem to imply anything about the relationship between pieces of content. The enterprise has a whack of content and we need something to manage it.

Information architecture seems to imply more of a relationship between content. But what sort of relationship? What is the relationship based on?
How is it created and managed?

That could be as simple as a cataloguing scheme. (Is the Dewey Decimal system and information architecture?) It could also be type based. Some people want to define all the types of information in an organization, and map them to a metamodel that tells you how types are related to each other.
Some want to map content into ontologies to attempt to define their subject matter and terminology in precise computable ways.

For my part, I am interested in bottom-up information architecture. I believe that no top-down organizing scheme scales well to the size and complexity of modern information sets and that we have to look at information architecture in terms of people arriving at content via search and navigating onwards via links in the content. In other words, the architecture is in the content itself.

This is a vision that is more about hypertext than content management. I take hypertext and content management to be two competing visions of information architecture. That's an oversimplification, of course. But sometimes we have to oversimply a distinction as a first step to showing that it exists:
http://everypageispageone.com/2015/06/15/the-war-between-content-management-and-hypertext/.

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: Janoff, Steven [mailto:Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 3:20 PM
To: 'TechWhirl'; mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com
Subject: RE: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing

Mark,

How would you distinguish between the terms "Enterprise Content Management"
and "Information Architecture" when considering an enterprise-wide content collection? What is the operation/role of each?

I suspect IA has more intelligence behind it and more of a goal of structuring toward ease of accessibility. Sort of like creating a MyCompanyWikipedia. Is ECM just about storage?

Thanks,

Steve

On Sunday, February 14, 2016 9:46 AM, mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com wrote:

What it should be, though, is neither of these things. In the paper world, authors were responsible for the organization and connectivity of information within a book and librarians were responsible for finding books on shelves. No one was responsible for the overall organization and connectivity of an organization's information as a whole because there was not effective technological means to organize and connect that much information into an integrated and navigable whole.

In the digital world, the technological means exists, and reader's expectations have changed to expect that kind of integration and connectivity and the one-stop information shopping that comes with it.

Unfortunately, our authoring processes and tools, and our traditions of information design, have not kept up and largely do not fit with that model.
Information architecture should be about changing all that. What we see too often though is that people create the job title but don't change their tools or their design habits to match. Many of the tool changes that people are making today are more about doing the old thing for less money than about doing the new thing. All of which, I think, contributes to a lack of clarity about what the role of an information architect is or should be.

In short, it is not enough to give someone the title of information architect. You actually need to build an information architecture. But what many organizations are building is not an information architecture, but a content assembly line.

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: On Behalf Of David Farbey
Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2016 9:37 AM
To: TechWhirl (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com)
Subject: Re: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing

While I've seen Information Architect used as a synonym for the sort of planning work that a senior tech writer or a doc manager may do, I have also seen it used for the job of designing data structures and other back-end features of web sites and systems.

I've also noticed that information architects appear to be better paid than technical writers...

David

David Farbey - david -at- farbey -dot- co -dot- uk
Mobile 07538 420 800
http://about.me/davidfarbey

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References:
Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing: From: Robin Whitmore
RE: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing: From: Robin Whitmore
Re: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing: From: Michael McCallister
Re: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing: From: David Farbey
RE: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing: From: mbaker
RE: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing: From: Janoff, Steven
RE: Information Architecture seems quite similar to Technical Writing: From: mbaker

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