|InfoVis.net>Magazine>message nº 94||Published 2002-07-10|
|También disponible en Español|
The digital magazine of InfoVis.net
According to the glossary of the Argus Center for Information Architecture (led by Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville) Information Architecture is “the art and science of organizing information to help people effectively fulfil their information needs” (The glossary can be downloaded in PDF format).
Richard Saul Wurman, who coined the term, defined it as ”The study of the organisation of information in order for the user to find their navigational way to the knowledge and understanding of information”. See InfoVis.net's glossary.
There are many other definitions, some of them not so clear, others specifically bound to web site design, like that of Aaron West: “the practice of designing the infrastructure of a web site, specifically its navigation” See "The Art of Information Architecture"
Every day there are more “information architects” and the demographic explosion of web sites has made this speciality famous, something which was defined in 1975, quite a bit before the existence of the web. Maybe it appears that information architecture and web site design are two facets of the same thing due to the fact that precisely in a web site excellent information organisation is indispensable in order to avoid failure. Nevertheless IA is something essentially independent and has more to do with what Wurman calls “the business of understanding”.
Nathan Shedroff considers the process that leads to understanding as a continuum that begins in the data and ends in wisdom, going through information and knowledge. (See the book "Information Anxiety 2" by R.S. Wurman, pages 27-29) Let’s summarise the main points
Information Visualisation takes place in the conversion from data to information acting as a vehicle for the construction of knowledge, by revealing the patterns that underlie the data.
Going from information to knowledge and then to wisdom, is our work and responsibility.
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