Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Information Architecture... who coined that thing?

Currently we are getting surrounded by people calling themselves Information Architect. Hell, yeah, I call myself one! So where did that word come from? Quite some years ago (1997) I happened to be working on a project with John Thackara in Amsterdam. Bringing together people from two different fields: knowledge management and (interface) design. From the world of design we had quite an odd bunch of people: io360 from NY, Perspecta from Cambridge MASS, PlumbDesign, ... those people got me thinking about, what we call now IA. I asked one of them what his favorite book was on (interface) design, this happened to be INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE by RICHARD SAUL-WURMAN. Today we would call Richard's ideas Information Design, but still, his ideas come quite close to IA of today. As Christina Wodtke put it quite right: Pretty much before there was a web, before Jakob was going to war with design, before all that hoo-haw... There was Richard Saul Wurman saying that someone should design information in a way people could use it, and he called this person an Information Architect.

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