When I was in college, I had a favorite philosopher* Giambattista Vico 1668-1744 (* doesn’t everyone?)
A few of Vico’s most powerful ideas ... “Verum factum” ... “The truth itself is made” i.e. Civil life, like mathematics, is wholly constructed • Etymology = key to understanding how our civilization &reason evolved from essential metaphorical building blocks • Strongly argued against the reductionist, hyper-rational Cartesian method. • Believed in a new science of the imagination.
The Trinity Metaphysics The Natural World The Civil WorldVico’s “map” of the architecture of his ideas.
Vico writes about the ancient sense of “Poet” = “Creator” Maker of worlds with language.
But long before college I had another obsession ...
Gary Gygax 1938 - 2008Principal inventor of Dungeons & Dragons photo: wired.com
Rules Dynamic User Activity Structure photo: http://www.geeksix.com/
photo: wikipedia & http:// www.useit.com/papers/ hypertext-history/
MUD (Multi-User Domain) @dig@@ Start here!@dig/teleportmeetingroom=meetingroom;meetingroom;me;m,lobby;lobby;lo;l;Out;ou;o@desc here=The meeting room is ornate,and is large enough for about 200 people.&OOC here=0@desc lobby=The exit has two doors andleads into the lobby.@succ lobby=You have left the meetingroom.@osucc lobby=has entered.@odrop lobby=has left.move out@desc meetingroom=The meeting roomentrance has two doors.@succ meetingroom=Now in the Meeting Room@osucc meetingroom=has left for themeeting room.@odrop meetingroom=has entered themeeting room.move meetingroom Language Place / Context
?(My Dirty Secret: in 2000 I hadn’t fully read this yet...)
Even mundane IA tools (e.g. labels, categories, taxonomies) can have powerful effects in people’s lives. Clinical Emotional Practical Using IA to discover the right structure & context for content has helped thousands of women ﬁnd and learn what they need, when they need it most.
In cyberspace ...... the map is the territory.
Cyberspace is any networked space and the places it connects. William Gibson“The thing thats going to be quaint about "cyberspace" (thatalready is, really) is the inherent assumption that its a realm unto itself; that its in any way elsewhere or other.”
How is IA more than just categorization & organization?
Oh Noes!! Flickr taggerz ate my job!!! (Many IA practitioners circa 2006)
We design structures within which users make their own meaning.
Rules Friend = Anyone You Connect To Dynamic User Activity Structure Another “map” we live within.
Cyberspace GamespaceAs any space is more deﬁned by binarylogic, the more it becomes like a game.
We can learn a lot from game design & research.“Games are ‘designed experiences’… and as such, their studyrequires an understanding of the full range of human practicesthrough which players actively inhabit those worlds of rules andtexts and render them meaningful.”They are both “designed objects and emergent culture.”Constance A. Steinkuehler “Why Game (Culture) Studies Now?” “...worlds of rules and texts...”
Why do I call myself an information architect? My central areas of interest:Using information to create structured systems for human experience.Making “maps” for shared understanding & habitation.Especially, making such “maps” that were impossible before the internet. (But that’s just my answer, for me ... for now ;-)
An expanding challenge ...Cyberspace Map Physical Territory Integrating digital space with the world of bricks & atoms.
IA as a ...Title: a label one can be called, What I call myselfwhether or not their work has anything to do to myself.with the thing, practice, activity or role. IDENTITYPractice:shared history of learning among people who afﬁliate with the role.Role:the ‘hat’ for the person performing the activity on the thing at the moment.Activity:the actual work of designing the “thing.”Thing:the designed ‘stuff’ itself.
“There is information architecture” ... but “there are no‘information architects.’ There are only User Experience Designers.” - Jesse James Garrett, Memphis IA Summit 2009 I disagree. * Culture is messy. * Language is organic. * This is all still evolving.
What should you call yourself? Whatever Gets The Job Done!**But we still need words for facets of complex design.
Rather than “deﬁning the damn thing” ... Let’s try describing & exploring.Because if it’s alive, it’s going to evolve anyway.
Discipline Established standards, deﬁnitions & curricula, planned from the top down.PracticeCommunity & shared history of learning, coalescingaround a shared central concern (domain).