The Definition of Information Architecture

Peter discusses why there is a need for the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture.

    If nothing else, AIfIA presents an opportunity for us to join forces and speak out. We must focus our message. We must carefully select our target audiences. And then we must speak loudly and clearly.

    But we hope to go much further than that. If we listen carefully to people's reactions, if we involve outsiders in the discussion, if we make connections to other communities and disciplines, then we can learn how to improve the practice of information architecture.

I wholeheartedly agree with what Peter has to say and am not surprised by the amount of feedback along the lines of "what the hell is IA?". In my mind, there is a great need to evangelize the value that IA brings to businesses. I see business decision makers -- the people who pay for IA -- as a very important target for this organization. For a lot of people out there, there is a great need to establish the IA meme in the heads of the people holding the purse strings in corporations. If we can collectively educate these kinds of people, we may help to sustain and develop the growing body of IA knowledge.

IA has not garnered the attention of the business world as Usability has. We have not had a provocative figure head that instill fear in business decision makers that if you don't consider IA, you will lose money -- not that I think this is a good idea. We do have some provocative people out there, but they haven't had as long a history as Jakob and haven't been as prolific in the mainstream business/management rags. This is where we have to make some great inroads. We generally tend not to be as loud individually (unless your name is Zia) so the collective voice of the AIfIA will hopefully help to get our message out there better.

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