2018 Information Architecture Summit Closing Plenary

Thank you.

I am deeply honored to have a chance to address my peers at this particular conference. This place has in many ways felt like home since I was lucky enough to find it 18 years ago. To our co-chairs and ASIST, thank you for inviting me.

I have for us two considerations related to our conference theme: convergence of physical and digital.

Our first consideration is information. I’d like to suggest that the kind of information we enlist in our designs is not just craft, but has an architectural role in harmonizing our information environments with everyday surroundings.

Our second consideration is culture. How might we align information environments nesting into everyday surroundings with values, with culture, at the right level?

We’ll start with information.


Last year, in his closing address, Dan Klyn immersed us in the A in IA, bringing a swath of our intellectual history from 2009 forward. Work we’ve done toward the possibilities of what the A in IA can be like, can be about.

This year, from our first angle on convergence, I’d like to immerse us in the I in IA. Not just for symmetry, but because, as the A deepens, so must the I. We’re exploring what architecture can do, the way ontological mappings of our design domains reveal the contours of meaning. We have wonders still to find in how the materials of our architecture can give agency¹ to information environments rooted in deep meaning.

As the A goes, so goes the I.

We enlist sounds, we enlist haptics, we enlist visualizations along with language in our designs to serve meaningful actions in particular settings. Now our information environments are nesting, not just in particular settings, but in everyday surroundings, cultural and physical. We don’t want our sounds and haptics and visualizations and language and other information modes to just layer on top of the sonic information, the visual information, the mechanical information to which our actors, as humans, are attuned in everyday surroundings. We want our information environments to participate meaningfully in physical-cultural ecosystems. As a design community, we’re experimenting with what these other modes of information can do, but we haven’t yet aligned all our raw materials with the abstractions of architecture.

Let’s take a term Richard Saul Wurman uses to capture the way it feels when actors engage information. He says engaging information is a performance (Klyn 2012). In performances that are good, clarity and understanding emerge. But, he says, it’s not just that clarity and understanding emerge, it’s how that feels. Placing himself as the actor, Richard Saul Wurman describes a feeling in his gut, a warmth that comes with clarity and understanding (Wurman 2009). Part of what the performance is about is achieving this feeling. Let’s take as our frame his term, performance; let’s take as our frame the feeling and the warmth of the performance of meaning.

Our field widely takes the view of embodied cognition*. As humans, we don’t manufacture information from inputs, and process that to output meaning. Meaning emerges as we engage information in our surroundings. Information is structure that we recognize and resonate with: relationships among parts (Gibson 1979).

We pick up structure in visual information because we are tuned to the relationships among surfaces and edges and textures in angles of reflected light (Gibson 1979). In a park with a hiking trail, we pick up walkable, we pick up pathness from the relationships of the edges and surfaces and textures in these surroundings. Many details vary along the trail, but these relationships do not.

Though more abstract, we pick up structure in language because we are tuned to the relationships (Golonka 2012, 2015). Two kids in school giving speeches on the kind of society they wish to see might use different narratives, different word choices, but the relationships among the concepts can have a structural sameness even when details vary (Hodges ref).

Visual information, language: each mode structures relationships with different properties, evoking different qualities in how meaning feels (Haverty 2015, 2017). Information modes are the craft of design and architectural considerations in the kinds of performance of meaning our environments facilitate.

Richard Saul Wurman often enlists visual information in his work. He could have represented his concepts as narratives, but his performance of meaning, things like comparisons among complex processes in cities, needs to feel visceral, spatial, evoking a different kind of attention than the richer, rolling attention to engage language.

Several in our field are now giving the full IA treatment to visual-spatial information [see Fast & Anderson in press, for example].

(These are just bird songs…)

What if we gave the full IA treatment to sound? Now we use sounds to notify actors of state changes. We map different sounds to different kinds of events. Sound structures can do more.

As humans, we are attuned to a host of sonic information in our everyday surroundings (Gaver 2010). Not just signals that events are happening, but information about the way events are unfolding through time. It’s not just that a car is approaching behind us that we pick up from the sound, but how quickly; that it’s not a car, it’s a big truck, and it’s veering off the road in our direction. We align with the unfolding of that structure, and perform with that information to get out of the way, in a good direction, at a good speed before we even turn around to look.

When we fill a bottle with water, we hear the way the sound structure changes as the water rises from the wide base to the tapered neck, and we perform with the unfolding of that structure, turning off the faucet at a good time, with good speed, before we even look. Game designers expand on everyday sounds. What would the full IA treatment of sound structures unfolding through time look like? What arrangements of base sounds assembled as events? What properties, what metadata would we use for new sounds representing new kinds of events? How can we make them make sense together with everyday sounds? How would performing with event information feel when it’s captured with sound verses visual animations versus narratives? We don’t yet have a language to make these comparisons. Not just the structure of meaning, but the way meaning feels harmonized with our surroundings.

(These are just vector fields…)

What if we gave the full IA treatment to haptic information? Now mechanical vibrations in our phones and other devices signal state changes. Unlike sound, haptic information is spatial. It occurs on a surface. We feel the swirls in the wind, eddies in the water. That surface area, even just a hand, can represent rich structure: the layout of our surroundings, the relative movements of objects approaching us, a good lane to be in when we wayfind by car or bike, eyes on the road, not stealing glances at a map. By its nature, haptic information is quiet, private. Meaning feels differently to perform². We use looping animated visuals because repetition can be a wonderful mechanism of clarity. When would looping animated haptic patterns facilitate Richard Saul Wurman-style warmth in the performance of meaning? Not just the structure of meaning, but the way meaning feels harmonized with our surroundings.

What if we talked about Voice UI as language in the air? One among an array of information modes. Language in the air has a magical quality: a hands-off, eyes-off conjuring of nouns to interrogate their verbiness. When we say Voice UI, we bake in properties like linearity, transience, syntactic precision. There’s an explosion of work on the craft and the IA of Voice UI. But, how does performing with language in the air feel compared to other information modes? How might we prevent language sounds and designed sounds with event information and everyday sounds from stepping on one another across a performance? Not just the structure of meaning, but the way meaning feels harmonized with our surroundings.

What about gestures? What about physical materials infused with new behaviors³? What about simulated objects with simulated physical properties?

What if we gave all the information modes the full IA treatment from an embodied point of view? What kinds of arrangements would we find?

We have language for the properties of visual information, but what are the properties of spatial haptic patterns? What kinds of metadata?

What does a sonic synonym ring look like?

Can we push the breadth and depth limits of our arrangements because of the different kinds of attention invoked by different modes of information?

What do information modes feel like as composites, or in symphony?

We’d need new tools to test their properties, to simulate where they shine, where they break down facilitating qualities in the performance of meaning.

What are these qualities? What qualities might give a Richard Saul Wurman-style warmth to the performance of meaning? That’s a taxonomy waiting to happen.

Again, this is more than honing the craft of design. We’re working on the craft, and we’re giving the IA treatment to some information modes individually. But treating them individually limits the way we can influence the agency of meaning. We need to bring them all in, and align them around the way meaning feels, harmonized with our surroundings.

If our first consideration is aligning information with the performance of meaning, then our second is aligning the performance itself with values, and by extension, culture, at the right level of abstraction.

Aligning performance with culture

A performance is always aligned with something. Clarity and understanding flow in moving from what is, to what ought to be (Hodges 2015).

In short: values.

Just carrying a rock, or a glass of water from where it is to where it ought to be invokes a system of values. Just chatting with friends, picking out a movie to go see invokes a system of values. An actor’s system of values resonates with her structural understanding of culture (Pyysiainen 2002, Heft 2017, Chiurrazi 2017).

We have some ways to think about culture.

In the book, Reframing Information Architecture, David Fiorito (2014) offers tools from anthropology to pick up meaning in particular design domains. In the book, Intertwingled, Peter Morville (2014) describes ways to get at the complex culture of the organization. Messy stuff. Still, we find ways to pick up contours of deep meaning from the artifacts and actions in these settings.

Photograph by Andrea Serio

We make models of these subcultures: studying at a library, banking, shopping, making a building, running a climate research lab, being a citizen, being a foodie in a city. Our ontologies and taxonomies reveal how our information environments might augment meaningful performances in these subcultures. Yet, our information environments, nesting into everyday surroundings, are integrating with culture at higher levels.

We lose the particulars of subcultures from which to see performances. We lose the particulars from which to pick up on the contours of meaning. It’s a blind spot. We can’t see how to situate our architectures at higher levels of abstraction, across subcultures.

Marcia Bates says that those of us working in information fields have an ability to see the invisible substrate of information (Bates 1999). Instead of seeing only the content, we see the structure and the representation of the content. We need that same kind of ability to see the invisible substrate of culture: not just the particulars of particular subcultures, but the structure underlying them, making them move.

I’m not sure what genre seeing the invisible substrate of culture falls in: science fiction or fantasy. But, our field knows, no structure is neutral. The information environments we make are ever more profoundly influencing what performing toward a good continuation is about for our actors. I thought we ought to give it a try. So, I did what those of us in meta fields do: I looked at the way other disciplines consider culture, to see if we might spot some structure there.

I’d like to share what I’ve seen as a way for us to visualize the invisible substrate of culture. Culture as a superstructure. Not just the way particular performances align with particular subcultures. All of it. The whole complex nesting, zooming superstructure of culture to which we, as actors (and humans), are attuned.

I don’t have a model. I have some visuals, and some narrative, and a question:

How far can we go facilitating place⁸ if we can see the way culture moves as a superstructure?

Visualizing the superstructure of culture

To visualize the superstructure of culture, let’s start with one particular subculture and go from there.

An actor becomes attuned to what performing toward a good continuation is like and about in a particular subcultural environment because it is particular: it’s filled with technical artifacts and actions (Heft 2017). I don’t mean technical as in science or engineering, I mean technical as in refined, tuned to the deep meanings in that particular environment.

Photograph by Jan Jackson

Making a vase, banking, shopping, being a government serving citizens, critiquing movies, architecting information environments: all of these subcultures have technical artifacts and actions (physical or digital) filling the environment with information. Little technical structure fragments that actors encounter, engaging, aligning with what performing toward a good continuation is like and about (Hodges 2014, 2015, Pyysiainen 2002, Heft 2017).

Consider the IA Summit. This place is considered welcoming. Welcomingness is not handed around intact. As actors, we abstract it from encountering information in the environment (Pyysiainen 2002, Heft 2017, Chiurrazi 2017). We encounter Peter Morville hosting dinners for first timers, a founder of the field, chatting warmly with each new comer at the table.

The first-timers’ dinner is technical artifact — a mechanism of performing toward good continuation — and technical action that members of the community perform.

By engaging structure fragments in the environment, an actor abstracts and assembles her understanding of what good continuation is like and about, becoming attuned to the subculture

From each encounter like this, we abstract and assemble our understanding of what good continuation is like and about. We pick up the deep meaning of welcomingness here; we resonate with it whenever we encounter fragments of its structure.

Consider conference talks at the IA Summit. Those are technical artifacts — language in the air, visuals and language on a screen. More structure fragments of what good continuation is like and about in this environment. We perform the technical actions of being an audience, in person or with hashtags on Twitter, sketching notes, asking questions. We curate and abstract from these fragments. We improvise, discussing and tweeting and writing blog posts, elaborating and refining possibilities for what performing toward a good continuation can be like, can be about for our field.

Not just our field. Maybe from a talk, we also resonate with something relating to our families.

Subcultures are not tidy, they can be nested, or intersect.

Some environments are hyper particular and intricately elaborated (our design teams, our nerdy hobbies, our families). Others are more abstract (our organizations, our ancestries, being a human among wildlife, being alive on a pale blue dot roving a quiet universe).

Multitudes indeed. And, a key point: actors, as they perform, rely on information in the environment to locate themselves in particular subcultures (Heft 2017) among their multitudes.

Actors, as they perform, rely on information in the environment to locate themselves in particular subcultures among their multitudes

Information environments like Facebook and Twitter have been around a while. We consider them to be places made of information. These public utility-like environments are so broad and so shallow, they resonate with no particulars of any given subculture, yet slice through them all. Actors engaging public utility-like environments don’t have technical artifacts and actions with which to locate themselves along their superstructures of culture. In any given encounter, an actor may be resonating with any one on the whole nesting, zooming array of subcultures to which she is attuned. Significance is kaleidoscopic with not much more than thumbs, hearts, hashtags, and the ability to block to sort out what good continuation is like and about in these places.

Clusters of subculture spin up through serendipity. Actors locate themselves in these clusters and align on meaningful performances.

Generic devices like thumbs and hearts and hashtags become technical artifacts, elaborations on what performing toward good continuation is like and about. Facebook becomes a place for them; Twitter becomes a place for them. Yet, these clusters of subculture are microcosms floating about, unintegrated with the larger ecosystem.

Juxtaposition creates an interesting phenomenon: hate groups and hobbyists are refining things like hashtags into the same kinds of technical artifacts (though content differs greatly). But analogous tech does not make a coherent culture.

Analogous tech does not make a coherent culture

Here, and in the physical-digital amalgamated environments yet to come, is where we need the ability to see the invisible substrate of culture.

Any given actor’s attunement to culture is not just a mashup of subcultures, it’s a superstructure. There’s some invisible substrate holding together these subcultures all along their nesting, zooming levels.

That substrate is a field of values.

Performing toward good continuation in a subculture is not an actor mimicking what she sees others do, or memorizing rules to engage artifacts correctly. Those things can help. But, for actors acting in good faith, performing toward good continuation is driven by a whole field of values acting as a system (Hodges 2015). Each value can constrain and be constrained by the others. Values are not rules for performing, but are are boundary conditions, constraints the ecosystem of the environment places on actors. A performance is a negotiation, finding balance among the values, answering for what good continuation in the greater ecosystem of the environment ought to be like and about.

Consider a driver in a society with physical-cultural driving infrastructure. The driver isn’t guided by one value — carefulness alone, or efficiency alone — but must balance a field of values: efficient yet careful, careful yet convenient, convenient yet accurate, accurate yet tolerant, and many other yets. These tensions balance and rebalance across a performance to align what driving toward good continuation is like and about not just for the actor alone, but answering to the greater ecosystem (Hodges 2007).

An actor in a subculture doesn’t have to recognize the kinds of values she’s balancing. The field of values may remain invisible. Yet, the arrangements, the balance of tensions in the field of values forms the substrate, the contours over which the content of her performances take shape: the way the driver drives. This dynamically balancing field of values is the invisible substrate of culture.

The field of values has one more function that we need to try to visualize.

Values are always referencing something greater than what the immediate performance is about (Pyysiainen 2002, Hodges 2015). Why is carefulness a constraint on good continuation for driving? What is carefulness pointing to? To provide guidance, values must be referencing some larger understanding of what good continuation is about. In other words, what culture is about. All the subcultures to which an actor is attuned do this. Even though each subculture is very particular, and balances among the field of values may be different for performances in different subcultures, they are all pointing up in the same direction, referencing something greater in what good continuation is about.

This gives us a structural angle on something we find in our information environments.

A field of values only holds everything together for actors acting in good faith. In something like a hate group, actors under the influence of forces like insecurity or resentment, raise one or a few values above all others (Hodges 2015).

Freezing values into a brittle hierarchy, instead of a field of balancing tensions

For these subcultures, performing toward good continuation is not balancing tensions, resonating up, answering to some universals of culture, but only points back in on itself: one value to rule them all in a frozen hierarchy.

The invisible substrate of these subcultures is structurally different from those of actors acting in good faith.

Let’s take a moment to summarize:

Each actor’s understanding of culture is a superstructure of nesting, zooming subcultures held together by a field of values that acts at two levels: it dynamically arranges to constrain performances toward good continuation for the ecosystem of a subculture, and it aligns every subculture with some greater notion of what good continuation (culture) is about.

Is our field to make something of this?

Could our public-utility like environments be more than containers of juxtaposed subcultures? Could we help actors locate themselves here as place too, performing toward good continuation at a higher level? Is there a higher level of place to find as our environments expand across everyday physical surroundings too?

What would technical artifacts and actions look like at higher levels, across subcultures?

It’s hard to say because we don’t know what the universals of culture are about. We don’t know what kinds of things culture things are at the highest levels, the ontology of culture. Philosophy, anthropology, psychology, social science all ask what kinds of things the universals of cultureness should include**: should universals include psychological things, or be completely external? Should universals include physical artifacts? What about surrounding ecologies? Disciplines debate how we should represent culture things: regular language, or do we need the formal language of mathematics and logic?**

Social science offers an Upper Ontology of Culture aimed at information systems (Blanchard et al. 2011). Close to home, yet it doesn’t take the embodied cognition point of view. That matters, because we know finding place in our information environments depends on the performance of meaning. Will our best ontologies of culture really ever be ontological: will they really ever be more fundamental than the time and place and situational contexts in which they were created¹⁰ ? ¹¹

The point is, we don’t know what cultureness is about. We don’t know to what universals the field of values underlying any given subculture points. But, we can be encouraged that other disciplines believe there are universals, even if they have only angles on them, not answers.

Our field can do a lot with a little encouragement.

Kat King shows us how to uncover assumptions underlying the heuristics we bring to topics (2018). She shows us how, by inviting diversity to our frames, our personal ontology maps unfurl into new dimensions with new resilience. A way to glimpse tensions in that field of values underlying our own performances toward good continuation.

Abby Covert (2014) is bringing the invisible substrate of information architecture to everyone: the ability to see underlying parts and relationships. Imagine if stewards of information environments, and the actors acting in them had this literacy. Structural literacy is cultural literacy.

Structural literacy is cultural literacy.

It’s not our job to say what the universals of cultureness are about, or if universality is an illusion embedded in place and time.

Maybe just seeing the way culture moves, and trying to catch glimpses a little above the particulars of performance is enough to help our actors find place among their multitudes.

If our first consideration of convergence was zooming in on information properties that influence meaning, our second was peering as far as we might toward the edges of our semantic universe.

Through both, what we find is the performance.

I want to believe we can align our raw materials with the structure and the feeling of the performance of meaning, harmonized with everyday surroundings.

I want to believe we can help actors locate themselves in performing toward good continuation wherever they may roam.

Thank you!

Notes & References

¹ Aspects of agency in environments: Heft, Harry (2007). The Participatory Character of Landscape. Plenary address, Innovative Approaches to Research Excellence in Landscape and Health, Open Space: People Space Research Program, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK, Fall, 2007. For mechanism of agent engaging environment: Shaw, Robert (2003). The Agent–Environment Interface: Simon’s Indirect or Gibson’s Direct Coupling? Ecological Psychology 15:1. 
[Side note: there are problems bringing over the concept of affordances to digital environments, described here. Engaging physical affordances must be distinguished from engaging concepts as two different behaviors that rely on different properties of information. Both may be engaged in digital environments, but they must be distinguished.]

² See Carello & Turvey (2017). Useful dimensions of haptic perception: 50 years after The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems, Ecological Psychology.

³ See also Mike Kuniavsky’s thoughts on expectations of autonomous behavior in, “User experience design for predictive behavior for the IoT,” presentation, UX Week 2015 [Available]

I talk a bit about information to support new kinds of simulated physical affordances here. I didn’t have time to cover work in dynamic touch, but that is very important for simulated physical affordances too. I talk about it briefly here around prospecting with simulated objects.

The field of information visualization has a huge body of literature. See also Fast & Anderson (in press) cited below.

I offer some properties of performance qualities here, here, and here. See Amber Case’s revival of calm technology.

I mean superstructure in the math-y sense (not the Kantian sense or building structure sense).

Barker, Roger (1968). Ecological Psychology, Stanford University Press.
Early quote inspiring idea that structure facilitates place. Barker studied behavior characteristics of school children in a small town in Kansas.
“Some attributes of behavior varied less across children within settings than across settings within the days of children…We could predict some aspects of children’s behavior more adequately from knowledge of the behavior characteristics of drugstores, arithmetic classes, and basketball games they inhabited than from knowledge of the behavior tendencies of particular children” (p.4).

For more detail on the creative tensions that allow and actor to both align with existing sense of good continuation and improvise, prospecting on what good continuation might be like and about, see slide 69+ here.

¹⁰ Adding this thanks to a hallway conversation at IAS18 (following workshop, “Does form really follow function? Learning from Louis Sullivan”) with Andreas Resmini about physical architecture in a city with joints connecting different time periods (Stewart Brand’s pace layers, etc.).

¹¹ These days, we have to add: will we end up letting some machine algorithm or neural net be our observer? Feed it our best ontology of culture sandwiches across our disciplines and set it on its unknown unknowns, maybe coaxing it to leave some trace mere humans can grasp?

*Selection of IA works citing embodied cognition view

Hinton, Andrew (2014). Understanding Context: environment, language, and information architecture. O’Reilly Media. [Excellent primer on embodied cognition]
Resmini, Andrea, Ed. (2014). Reframing Information Architecture, Springer.
Haverty, Marsha (2015). What we mean by meaning: new structural properties of information architecture, presentation, 2015 Information Architecture Summit, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 22–26 April.
Morville, Peter (2014). Intertwingled: information changes everything, Semantic Studios.
Fast, Karl & Anderson, Stephen (in press). Design for Understanding, Two Waves. [Also gives the IA treatment to the visual-spatial information mode]
Arango, Jorge (in press). Living in Information: architecture for life inside small glass rectangles, Two Waves.

**Selection of perspectives on ontology of culture

Chiurrazi, Gaetano (2017). Universality without Domain: The Ontology of Hermeneutical Practice, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 48:3. [Digs into the idea of individuals abstracting an understanding of the universalities of culture and finds something a touch different…I used ‘abstracting’ in the talk to keep things simple, but this is very interesting]
Culture, as Gadamer writes by quoting Herder, is the ‘rising up to humanity’, and this rising up has the form of an ‘increase’ of our proper human reality,which is also a detachment from our particular being: ‘Whoever abandons himself to his particularity isungebildet(unformed)’, because he is not able to ‘turn his gaze from himself towards something universal’. At first glance, this process seems analogous to that of abstraction: as in the abstractive process, the particular qualities were eliminated, while retaining only the universal ones, so it seems that the more one is educated, the more one has to ‘impoverish’ one’s own being through a removal of one’s own particularities. However, the universality at hand in the human sciences is not an impoverishment but rather an enrichment…The universal, to which the educated human being rises, in fact involves not an everlasting impoverishment in connotations but, on the contrary, an ever-growing intensional enrichment; it is not a process of abstraction, but an inclusive and integrative process. The educated human being is the one who, having seen and known a lot, having had many experiences, has acquired that sensitivity which enables her to comprehend herself and others more and more. The universality to which an individual rises does not consist of excluding, but of including in one’ s proper experience the greatest possible number of particularities: it is not then a question of a reduction, but of an accumulation of differences.”
Epstein, Brian (2018). “Social ontology,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [Available] [Helpful background]
Hoekstra, R.J. (2009). “Ontology Representation : design patterns and ontologies that make sense, Amsterdam: IOS Press [PhD Thesis] [Recommended for general ontology interest]
Hofweber, Thomas (2004). “Logic and ontology,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [Available] [Helpful background]
Prinz, Jesse (2011). “Culture and cognitive science,” Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [Available] [Great primer and overview]
Pyysiainen, Ilkka (2002). Ontology of culture and the study of human behavior, Journal of cognition and culture 2(3). [How humans abstract cultural understanding from structure fragments in the environment; what kind of ontology is culture]
Ritchie, Katherine (2015). Can semantics guide ontology? Astralasian Journal of Philosophy.
SATIOĞLU, DİLEK (2015). A philosophical approach to upper level ontologies, [PhD Thesis]
Social Science
Sperber, Dan (1986). “Issues in the ontology of culture,” in Barcan Marcus et al., eds.,
Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science VII, Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. (1986) 557–571 [Sperber likens cultural ontology to epidemiological ontology. Intriguing, except again more on transmission of information instead of embodied/ecological information]
Blanchard et al. (2011). Structuring the cultural domain with an upper ontology of culture, In E.G. Blanchard and D. Allard (Eds), Handbook of Research on Culturally Aware Information Technology: Perspectives and Models , Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing.
Blanchard, Emmanuel & Mizoguchi, Riichiro (2014). Designing culturally-aware tutoring systems with MAUOC, the more advanced upper ontology of culture, Research and practice in technology enhanced learning, 9(1).
Ecological Psychology
Barker, Roger (1968). Ecological Psychology, Stanford University Press.
Bickhard, Mark (2015). The social-interactive ontology of language, Ecological Psychology 27(3).
Hodges, Bert (2014). Righting Language: the view from ecological psychology, Language Sciences 41(A).
Heft, Harry (2017). Perceptual information of “ an entirely different order”: the “cultural environment” in the senses considered as perceptual systems, Ecological Psychology 29(2).
Gasparini et al. (2014). A survey of cultural aspects in Human Computer Interaction Research, CI 8(3).
Media and Communications
Venn, Couze (2007). Cultural theory and its futures, Theory Culture Society 24:49.

Cited References

Bates, Marcia (1999). The invisible substrate of information. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 50(12).

Blanchard et al. (2011). Structuring the cultural domain with an upper ontology of culture, In E.G. Blanchard and D. Allard (Eds), Handbook of Research on Culturally Aware Information Technology: Perspectives and Models, Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing.

Chiurrazi, Gaetano (2017). Universality without domain: the ontology of hermeneutical practice, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 48:3. [An adjustment to say it’s not abstraction that is done, but ‘intentional enrichment’. Worthwhile to read about this way to characterize the process and content of pointing to universals without losing the particulars.]

Covert, Abby (2014). How to make sense of any mess. CreateSpace.

Fast, Karl & Anderson, Stephen (in press). Design for understanding. Two Waves.

Fiorito, David (2014). Toward a culturally focused information architecture, in Resmini (ed) Reframing information architecture, Springer, p.71–84.

Gaver, William (2010). What in the world do we hear?: An ecological approach to auditory event perception, Ecological Psychology 5(1).

Gibson, James J. (1979). An ecological approach to visual perception, Psychology Press.

Golonka, Sabrina (2012). Language isn’t magical (but it is special). Blog post [Available].

Golonka, Sabrina (2015). Laws and conventions in language-related behaviors, Ecological Psychology.

Haverty, Marsha (2015). What we mean by meaning: new structural properties for information architecture, 2015 Information Architecture Summit, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 22–26 April. [Available]

Haverty, Marsha (2017). Meaning modes in design. Google Design Speaker Series, [Available]

Heft, Harry (2017). Perceptual information of “ an entirely different order”: the “cultural environment” in the senses considered as perceptual systems, Ecological Psychology 29(2).

Hodges, Bert (2007). Values define fields: the intentional dynamics of driving, carrying, leading, negotiating, and conversing, Ecological Psychology 19(2).

Hodges, Bert (2014). Righting Language: the view from ecological psychology, Language Sciences 41(A).

Hodges, Bert (2015). Language as a values-realizing activity: caring, acting, and perceiving, Zygon 50(3).

King, Kat (2018). Personal ontology maps: a way to get to good, presentation, 2018 Information Architecture Summit, Chicago, IL, 21–25 March.

Klyn, Dan (2012). Lifeboat #5: Richard Saul Wurman, Journal of Information Architecture. Vol. 3(2) [Available]

“On the one hand we’re talking about a product — more of a product, a better version of a product — and on the other hand we’re talking about a performance, the quality of some performance in the city.
And that same image goes for the difference between people asking for schools and not being able to ask for learning, being able to ask for policemen and not being able to ask for safety, being able to ask for nice vehicles and not being able to ask for a movement system, being able to ask for more highways and not being able to ask for speed or interest. Part of the reason for this is that we really don’t have a language that describes performance, we don’t have a visual language that describes visual things, we don’t know how to get at it in any kind of precision that people can understand.” — Richard Saul Wurman

Morville, Peter (2014). Intertwingled: information changes everything, Semantic Studios.

Pyysiainen, Ilkka (2002). Ontology of culture and the study of human behavior, Journal of cognition and culture 2(3).

Resmini (2014). Reframing information architecture. Springer.

Wurman, Richard Saul (2009). Richard Saul Wurman on understanding, Conversation with Carlos Salum, The Orchard, Newport, Rhode Island. [Available]