Blog 1- Information Architecture

1. What is information? Describe the qualities of information.

Information is that which is formed from knowledge and data and which is able to provide answers to questions. It exists without the need of an observer.

Information can have several qualities:
- Authority/Verifiability- the expertise or status of a source.
- Scope- the extent to which a source explores a topic.
- Composition- the ability of the information source to present its message.
- Objectivity- the bias or opinion of a writer when they interpret facts.
- Integrity- the adherence of moral and ethical principles.
- Comprehensiveness- the inclusivity and scope of a study as well as the mental capability to grasp a topic.
- Validity- the degree of obvious truthfulness of information.
- Uniqueness- the originating point of information and the manner in which it is presented.
- Timeliness- the time in which a particular piece of information was published or revised.
- Reproducibility- the documented methods are capable achieving the same result.

2. What is the Dewey Decimal System? Describe how it operates.

The Dewey Decimal System or Dewey Decimal Classification is a library classification system first published in the US in 1876.

It organises library materials by disciplines or field of study, such as philosophy, social science and technology. It is made up of classes, each divided into 10 divisions, each having 10 sections. Three whole numbers make up the main and sub classes and decimals create further division.

3. Explain what Library Science is.

Library Science is a multidisciplinary field applied to the practices, perspectives and tools of management, information technology, education and other area to libraries; the collection, organisation, preservation and dissemination of information resources; and the political economy of information.

4. What is information architecture?

Information Architecture is the structural design of shared information environments- the art and science of labelling various digital landscapes.

5. List and describe at least three reasons for why information architecture is important (i.e., the return on investment for hiring an information architect).

The top three reasons as to why IA is important is:
- Findability- the ability to search and be able to find the information required in a timely manner.
- Usability- the ability to be able to easily use the system in which potentially huge amounts of information or data is held.
- Security- the need for the data held to be secure and only accessed by those you want to have access to it.

6. List and describe the four key information architecture concepts that help information architects articulate user needs and behaviours.

The main concepts within IA are:
- Organisation schemes and structures- categorisation and structure of information that is presented.
- Labelling systems- representation of information presented.
- Navigation systems- how users are able to access and use the information presented.
- Search systems- how users are able to look for and find information presented.

7. List and describe the three main information architecture systems that support a web site.

- Labelling systems- representation of information presented.
- Navigation systems- how users are able to access and use the information presented.
- Search systems- how users are able to look for and find information presented.

8. List and describe the four main information architecture deliverables.

Wireframes- mock-ups of a sites layout.

Blueprints- relationships between pages (similar to a site map).

Controlled vocabularies- list of equivalent terms.

Metadata schema- structure and definition of properties in web pages.

9. The following is a list of career titles related to this course. Research five titles from the list. Write a brief description for the title, what the key duties are, which potential companies will hire people with those skillsets, and what sort of remuneration is provided.

SEO Manager

o ensuring organic search results are presented and of high quality. Manage campaigns and lead assistants. Ensure integration of search strategies.

o Various companies, with a strong online presence towards the top. Companies like Expedia, Google, Wotif and Freelancer.

o Salary range of about $77,000 — $86,000

o Looking for people with around 5 years SEO experience, a degree in the field, great communication skills, knowledge of various SEO management software, ability to analyse data.

QA Project Manager

o Track and correct quality issues, train and support project teams, minimise defects, carry out audits.

o Varied companies across all types of industry- Citi, Brookfield Multiplex, Pacific Brands.

o Salary range of AU$70,000 up to USD$180,000.

o Excellent communication, great problem solving experience, deep process and controls understanding, degree.

Director, Service Integration Management

o Drive adoption of integration of service management, manage and influence key vendor and supplier relationships, drive major change and ensure customer satisfaction.

o IT service companies like Kinetic IT and others like Echo Entertainment Group.

o Looking for degrees, knowledge of software and processes, ITIL qualifications, strong management and communication skills.

Usability Designer

o Design and build UI and model for products, gauge usability, develop prototypes, designing information architecture, conduct customer research.

o All software companies like Google, Moodle, Xero and Deloitte.

o Salary range anything from (USD) $70,000 to $100,000.

o Degrees, experience with software design, deep web and mobile knowledge, excellent communication and collaboration skills.

UX Architect

o Work with development teams/customers to envision and design applications, responsible for all aspects of the user experience, stylistic guidance.

o Software companies like IBM, Lab49 and Sportsbet.

o Salary range (USD) $90,000 to $170,000.

o Need experience, an interest in technology, communication effectiveness, degree, 5 years’ experience.

Used data from Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Indeed.

10. Check out the Information Architecture Institute. Comment on what sort of value you see such an institute being to the community. Place a link on your blog to the institute.

The IA Institute is great for the community as it brings together like minded individuals and should foster the need for and importance of information architecture.

11. Describe what is meant by the term “information ecology”.

It is a metaphor for the information space as an ecosystem. It draws a connection between ecological ideas and the digital information environment.

12. What is content management and how does it relate to information architecture?

Content management is the processes and technology used to support the publishing, collection and management of information. This is the basis of information architecture.

13. What is metadata and how is it used in information architecture?

Metadata is the data about information. It is both structural (container of data) and descriptive (individual instances of application data). It has a specific standard and describes the contents and context of data.

It is used in IA to support the discovery of relevant information and to assist in its organisation.

14. Explain why the “Too-Simple” information model is unrealistic for modelling users’ information seeking behaviours.

The too-simple model is just that, too simplistic a model for actual user behaviour. It simply assumes a user asks one thing and then ‘magic’ happens to return the correct information.

15. Describe how a web site user typically finds information.

Users typically find information by searching, navigating for link to link or asking someone connected to the site.

16. What is known-item seeking? Give two examples.

Known-item seeking is a user searching for information in which they know what they are looking for, know what words to use to describe it and have a good understanding of where to start.

This may include looking for lyrics to a song you know or looking for reviews on a new video game.

17. What is exploratory seeking? Give two examples.

Exploratory seeking is where a user has some idea of what they are after but aren’t sure where to start or exactly what words to use. They generally recognise when they have found the answer.

This may include researching a particular battle within a war or the technique of performing a magic trick.

18. What is exhaustive research? Give two examples.

An exhaustive search is when a user may not know any information on a particular topic but systematically goes through every possible result to gather as much information as needed.

This may include learning about a complex law issue or how to design a building.

19. What is re-finding? Give two examples.

Re-finding is users looking for information they have seen before. A user may remember exactly where it was.

This can include getting information on an assessment task or looking up an interesting news article.

20. What is the Berry Picking Model? Give an example of how you might search for a topic using the Berry Picking Model.

This is where a user adapts their search terms based on results and gathers information in a non-linear way.

This might be evident when researching a battle within a war- you might start with the war and dates, then adjust it to a battle you found.

21. What is the Pearl Growing Model? Give an example of how you might search for a topic using the Pearl Growing Model.

This model is based on users using one piece of information to find further data on that topic.

This is evident when looking at an article on a news website and clicking through each of the citation links to find more information.

22. Explain what search analytics is and how it helps your learn more about information needs and information seeking behaviours.

Search analytics is the comparison and analysis of various search engines, enabling websites to improve their optimisation and marketing.

Because it includes trends and detailed analysis among other key pieces of information, it is able to clearly show different user behaviours and information requirements.

23. Explain what contextual enquiry is and how it helps your learn more about information needs and information seeking behaviours.

A contextual inquiry is a user centred research method in which a structured analysis occurs on the user as they carry out their normal activities.

This can provide an insight into how the user seeks information under normal circumstances.

24. Use the pearl growing method for information seeking to search for information about “Electronic Record and Documents Management” and “Digital Asset Management”. Using a minimum of 500 words:

a) Describe what you found/learnt about “Electronic Record and Documents Management” and “Digital Asset Management”. (Remember to provide references to authoritative sources.)

Having never heard of Electronic Record & Documents Management or Digital Asset Management, my research allowed me to discover a whole variety of new information.

For instance, I discovered that electronic record and documents management manages the entire life cycle of a document or record from its initial creation to its ultimate destruction. I also found that a document is always considered a work in progress until it has been reviewed, approved and locked or published. Following this, it waits for use. User created content following the same flow will become a record.

There is also specific software designed and built for this exact purpose for the enterprise.

Digital Asset Management, I discovered, is the actual management of any piece of digital data, including ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution. Such digital assets may include photographs and videos.

Again, there is specific software (and even hardware) designed and developed for this exact scenario.

The asset being managed has a target version, which is the highest resolution/fidelity version known as essence.

The essence is detailed using metadata, which includes a description of the asset such as content; the means of encoding/decoding; provenance; ownership; rights of access; as well as many others.

There are some metadata standards such as Dublin Core and PBCore which can be followed for the purposes of DAM.

b) Describe your experience with using the pearl growing method and the processes you undertook.

In terms of my experience, I am more of a cherry picker. I prefer to search, look at some sites, go back and refine. If I have found a good website, I may use the pearl growing method from there. I also like to use Wikipedia for my initial search due to its succinct and well sourced data. I will always back this up by looking on other websites. Although Wikipedia is perfect for pearl growing (using the embedded links and sources), I generally don’t.