IA Institute Newsletter - #6.03 2011

The Information Architecture Institute (IAI) Newsletter features news about IAI and our partner's sites: Asis&t Bulletin, Boxes and Arrows, IxDA and the Web & Electronic Indexing SIG of the American Society for Indexing. Also, there's a brief list of events with discounts for members and job postings at the end, so read on!


IAI News

  • Annual Members Meeting Report
  • 2010 Annual Report Released
  • IAI Awards Grant Assisting Information Architecture Student Role at the International Rescue Committee
  • IA Institute Sponsors Enterprise Search Summit
  • EuroHCIR 2011: The 1st European Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval

What's New With Our Partners
Upcoming Conferences and Workshops
IAI Job Postings

Annual Members Meeting Report

The IA Institute Annual Members Meeting was held in Denver on April 2, concurrently with the IA Summit. Over 100 people attended the event, held at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, making it our best annual meeting turnout yet. (Surprisingly, only a handful claimed to be there just for the karaoke: Big thanks to Kevin Hoffman for serving as our DJ).

At the meeting the Board presented a new framework for characterizing the relationships that the Institute will mediate going forward, which board member Dorian Taylor describes below. In future newsletters, we will present board updates on specific relationships within the framework and related resources including the IDEA conference, the IA Library, mentoring and more.

Characterizing the Information Architecture Institute, by Dorian Taylor

We began serving on the board of the Information Architecture Institute on October 2, 2010. Week after week, we did very little but bicker. We had little if any experience working together, and at least in my case, no experience whatsoever directing a non-profit organization.

Everybody involved had a flurry of ideas and initiatives for what they wanted to do with their board tenure. Most conspicuously, everybody had pet priorities couched in private understanding.

It was clear that in order to collaborate we needed a common language, and it was ultimately convenient that manufacturing common language is kind of what I do.

On one of our weekly conference calls in late January 2011, we invited Thomas Vander Wal to talk to us about the original purpose and objectives of the institute. Immediately afterward, I sketched out this:

IA Institute Role by Transaction content

A week or two later, we took this image to Iceland where we put it on the wall for the purpose of focusing our attention while we sat in a hotel basement for (most of) two days.

iceland basement

We did get out a little bit, though.

Photo credits: Jeff Parks and Noreen Whysel

The fundamental relationships in the diagram didn't change much, though some of the wording did and so did the positions of the relationships. There is some significance to the left and right panels but we're not quite sure what it is yet.

In addition to the relationships in which the Institute serves as a mediator, we also added two direct relationships: one to business leaders and one to other service organizations. The only thing left to do was formalize the image, which I did in time for the IA Summit, to be printed onto a card.

Final framework

Of course, the back of the card was a little barren, so I wrote some copy for it. This was probably the easiest copy I've ever written. A single draft, started as a text file and subedited directly in Illustrator, which I'll reproduce here:

As a discipline matures, a little introspection is healthy. And nobody, it seems, introspects like the practitioners of a discipline founded upon introspection. This is why the 2010-2012 board of the Information Architecture Institute has chosen to frame its function in terms of relationships which we believe will create value and enable both the Institute and the discipline to stand out in a growing, yet still turbulent space.

We aim to facilitate the following relationships and the people and groups they serve:

  • Mentors/Institutions and Apprentices/Students
    This is the relationship of induction, education, training and professional development. It is about bringing people into the practice of information architecture and strengthening their acumen.
  • Researchers and Practitioners
    This is the relationship of reconciling theory with practice. It is about getting important research out into the field, as well as getting feedback from the field about which research is important.
  • Project Teams and Volunteers
    This is the relationship of service. It is about providing the infrastructure for motivated people, whose time we recognize as valuable, to perform effectively and achieve results in the endeavours of the organization.
  • Vendors and Customers
    This is the relationship of commerce. It is about enabling our members to trade the products and services that make them more effective at the practice of information architecture.
  • Workers/Consultants and Employers/Clients
    This is the relationship of work. It is about connecting information architects with the projects and organizations that make their skills useful to the outside world.

In addition to these mediating relationships, there are the relationships the Institute itself forges directly:

  • Business Decision-Makers
    This is the relationship of outreach. It is about explaining to business leaders the value of information architecture and how it fits into their organizations.
  • Other Organizations
    This is the relationship of alliance. It is about adding further definition to the Institute by situating it among a broader community of similar, but different organizations.

In my admittedly biased opinion, this artifact is an excellent start under the aegis of the Institute's new working motto:

Demonstrate the damn thing.

Dorian Taylor, IA Institute Board of Directors

2010 Annual Report Released

2010 was a year of continued streamlining for the Institute, as we completed back office development work and began to focus on strategy that will allow us to better meet current and future growth. Our objective remains to do so without sacrificing the nimbleness and flexibility required to effectively serve the needs of a rapidly evolving profession.

Some of the year’s highlights:

  • Organization: 2010 was a year for changes as we hired a new Membership Coordinator, retained an association management firm to handle back-office details, secured liability insurance, documented treasury procedures and hired a new bank and a new accounting firm.
  • Membership: We ended the year with 1,449 members in 48 countries. Our member renewal rate was 51% versus 45% in 2009 and 44% in 2008. This is a loyalty measure based on the number of eligible members that chose to renew in a given year. The result indicates that members are more likely to renew than they have been in previous years.
  • Infrastructure: Member database transition is progressing. We have secured a lifetime license to aMember and have completed a series of tests. Implementation is expected by Spring 2010. A full-scale review and strategic plan for the IA Library and the iainstitute.org website is underway in preparation for a migration to an integrated Drupal-based system.
  • Communications: Peter Morville helped us launch a new public initiative called Explain IA. The result was a contest open to the public in which IA Institute members judged entries ranging from diagrams, videos and prose.
  • Events: IDEA 2010 was held at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, PA, USA, and continues to exceed our expectations with regards to quality, attendance, and income. We also had a considerable presence at the IA Summit in Phoenix, and sponsored various other events around the world.
  • Partnerships: We expanded our list of event, education and product partners.
  • Initiatives: Our member initiatives continued to flourish. We’ve been working to handle the growth in some of our programs, particularly the mentoring program and events/webinars. One area of promise is in developing two-way relationships between research and practice through initiatives that connect professional speakers with student groups and academic research with business practices. Meanwhile, we continued making back-end improvements to our mentoring registration system and streamlining our resources and translations initiative processes, leveraging our new Volunteer Wiki and the IA Library.

We closed the year with a clearer understanding of the challenges and opportunities before us. Over the next year, we look forward to continue improving our infrastructure and partnership opportunities to better serve our members and the IA profession. We thank you for being a part of it all, and look forward to keep working with you to help our profession flourish.

Read the full report.

IAI Awards Grant Assisting Information Architecture Student Role at the International Rescue Committee

The IAI has awarded a grant of $1500 to Emily Rinck of the University of Michigan School of Information to make it possible for Ms. Rinck to accept an otherwise un-funded summer internship doing information architecture work on the Intranet design at the International Rescue Committee. The IRC provides aid in over 40 countries worldwide, and Ms. Rinck's position with the IRC will impact the delivery of aid and relief to refugees around the world. Learn more about the IRC at http://www.rescue.org.

IA Institute Sponsors the Enterprise Search Summit

We are pleased to announce that the IA Institute is once again sponsoring the ENTERPRISE SEARCH SUMMIT in New York on May 10-11.  The Summit is offering IA Institute members $200 off of registration.  Register for the conference at:


The ENTERPRISE SEARCH SUMMIT is a highly intense, in-depth, 2-day conference that covers how to develop, implement and enhance cutting-edge internal search capabilities. If you are an information manager or IT or search professional, ENTERPRISE SEARCH SUMMIT is where you will learn strategies and build the skill sets you need to make your organization’s content not only searchable but "findable" and actionable so that it delivers value to the bottom line.

We've all heard the age old adage, "Work smarter, not harder." The good news is that search tools can help make that lofty goal a reality. ENTERPRISE SEARCH SUMMIT 2011 will focus on Intelligent Search. We will bring together the best and brightest minds in the industry to help attendees learn how to make the most of their content and knowledge assets and empower employees through the effective use of search tools and techniques.

Based on real-world experience, case studies, and expert insights, ENTERPRISE SEARCH SUMMIT delivers the skills and knowledge you need to implement, manage, and enhance search in your organization. Join us for the premiere event in enterprise search!

Who Should Attend

  • Search managers
  • Intranet/portal managers
  • IT managers
  • Information & knowledge architects
  • Taxonomists
  • Content managers
  • Web publishers & developers
  • Information professionals
  • Knowledge management professionals
  • Anyone who is responsible for organizing, managing, and retrieving internal and/or external information

What You Will Learn

  • Get the nuts and bolts you need to make search work.
  • Learn from the experience of hands-on information managers that are implementing search software and getting results.
  • Learn how to maximize your existing investments
  • Be equipped to make wise decisions about enhancements and new investments.
  • Hear case studies from practicing enterprise search professionals.
  • Explore search as part of Information Architecture and Knowledge Management.
  • Understand when and why to use taxonomies and metadata in enterprise search.
  • Get briefed on emerging search strategies, tools, and developments.
  • Network and share ideas with other knowledge, technology, and information managers with similar needs and concerns.

IA Institute members receive a $200 discount. Visit the Member Center to view the discount code.  Board member Shari Thurow and Operations Manager Noreen Whysel plan to attend and will report back on items of interest to our membership.

Got an event you would like to promote? Please visit our Event Promotions & Sponsorship web page for details on listing your event in our calendar.

EuroHCIR 2011: The 1st European Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval

The IA Institute strives to promote interaction between researchers and practitioners.  As such, we are pleased to announce our promotional affiliation with the EuroHCIR 2011: The 1st European Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval.  EuroHCIR 2011 will be held on July 4 in Newcastle, UK.  This promotional affiliation differs from a formal sponsorship in that we have not been asked for monetary assistance to run the conference and have not received any discount for our members.  Rather, we have agreed to list the event in our calendar on good faith that the event will help to foster communication between the research and practitioner communities.  We will keep our membership updated on the results of this affiliation and if it is successful, will expand more formal promotional affiliations with similar endeavors toward research-practitioner collaboration. For more information and details on the Call for Papers, visit http://fitlab.eu/euroHCIR2011/index.php.


WHAT'S NEW WITH OUR PARTNERS? - http://iainstitute.org/en/about/people/partners.php

ASIS&T Bulletin - http://www.asis.org/bulletin.html

Current Issue

April/May 2011
Vol. 37, No. 4
Full Text: PDF (Size: 2.9mb)

IA Column:  The Ouch Factor: What Happens When User Needs Change
by Thom Haller 
PDF (Size: 69k)

Information Architecture Summit 2011
Great!  Amazing!  This was the best IA Summit ever!  These are just a few of the comments you can read on the IA Twitter feed.  Keep the energy going and stay connected as we plan for 2012 in New Orleans, March 21-25, 2012. Most of the slides can be found on Slideshare here and additional slideshows tagged with "IAS11" are also available.


Boxes and Arrows - http://www.boxesandarrows.com
The definitive source for the complex task of bringing architecture and design to the digital landscape.

Are your users S.T.U.P.I.D?
How good design can make users effective

by Stephen Turbek
Design groups often use themselves as typical users, but they have the benefit of knowing it and caring deeply about it. Regular users have other things going on in their lives. Stephen Turbek highlights the various, subtle pressures on a user that reduce a user's "effective intelligence", or what they actually use when using an interface.

Novices Orienteer, Experts Teleport
The effect of expertise on search behaviour

by Tyler Tate
Expertise significantly impacts how we seek information online. Tyler Tate explores how understanding the differences between novices and experts helps us design better search interfaces for both groups of users.


Interaction Design Association (IxDA) - http://www.ixda.org
The IxDA is a non-profit professional organization whose focus is promoting both the field of interaction design and the interests of an international community of practitioners, managers, educators, and students of interaction design.

IxDA has announced that Interaction12 will be held in Dublin, Ireland on 1-4 February 2012. Conference website is at http://interaction12.ixda.org/. Interaction|13 will be held in North America in 2013. An open call for location nominations within North America will occur in May 2011. The The IxDA Board of Directors has closed its call for nominations for the Chair of the Interaction|13 conference at this time. Results will be posted by 15 May, 2011. Watch the IxDA discussion list for details: http://www.ixda.org/discussion.

IxDA has announced that Interaction12 will be held in Dublin, Ireland in 1-4 February 2012.  Conference website is at http://interaction12.ixda.org/.


Web & Electronic Indexing SIG of the American Society for Indexing (ASI) - http://www.web-indexing.org/

Promoting the human indexing of Web sites and HTML documents worldwide.
The Web & Electronic Indexing SIG is now offering a free web index creation service for non-profit organizations with small web sites. Visit the Web Indexing Pro Bono Progam page for details.

The results from the June-July 2010 Web Indexing SIG survey(pdf) are now available.


UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS - http://www.iainstitute.org/calendar/

The following events offer discounts to IA Institute members. Visit our Member Center website for discount code

April 27-29, 2011
Rosenfeld Media UX Workshops: Steve Krug, Lou Rosenfeld, and Whitney Quesenbery
Atlanta, GA, USA

5-7 May 2011
Italia IA Summit 2011: Architecta - Società Italiana di Architettura dell'Informazione
Milan, Italy

10-11 May 2011
Enterprise Search Summit 2011
New York, NY, USA

11-13 May 2011
UX Lx: User Experience Lisbon - Ideias e Imagens
Lisbon, Portugal

16, 18 and 19 May 2011
Follow the UX Leader
Ottawa, Canada

20-21 May 2011
IA Konferenz: The 5th German IA Summit
Munich, Germany

1-3 June 2011
Rosenfeld Media UX Workshops: Steve Krug, Lou Rosenfeld, and Ginny Redish
Chicago, IL, USA

4 July 2011
EuroHCIR 2011: The 1st European Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval
Newcastle, UK

To add your event to our calendar contact us at membership AT iainstitute DOT org.


IAI JOB POSTINGS - http://www.iainstitute.org/jobboard/

The IAI Job Board lists job postings related to information architecture, as well as information design, interaction design, user experience, and HCI. Visit the job board at http://iainstitute.org/jobboard/.

The following are just a sample of recent postings:

Product Director/UX Manager, Company Confidential , San Francisco, CA, USA

Freelance Senior Information Architect - London - £400-450 per day, IC Creative - recruiter , London, GBR

Sr. UX Architect, TEKsystems , Chicago, IL, USA

Perm IA, Creative recruiter , London, GBR

User Experience Architect mid to senior level, we are:london , London, GBR

User Experience Architect, Conortia , London, GBR

Senior Interaction Designer, BoomTown ROI , Charleston, SC, USA

Sr. UX Specialist, Elsevier , St. Louis, MO, USA

Head of User Experience - London - market levels + benefits, IC Creative - recruiter , London, GBR

User Experience Architect, NewCity , Blacksburg, Va, USA

Freelance UX writer for a Consumer Web startup, Nogle , San Francisco, USA

Freelance Junior/ Mid Level Mobile IxD - London - up to £300 per day, IC Creative - recruiter , lo, GBR

Freelance Jnr/ Mid Level iPhone Graphic Designer - London - up to 300 per day, IC Creative - recruiter , London, GBR


Newsletter archives can be found at http://iainstitute.org/news/cat_newsletter.php.

Comments about this newsletter? Questions? Things you would like to see included in future issues?

Contact feedback AT iainstitute DOT org

Thanks for reading and we'll be back with another newsletter in about a month!


Join the IA Institute and help build an international network sharing IA and UX related resources: http://iainstitute.org/join/

Recent News

Oct 1 2019
Proposals are open until October 14th, 2019. Share your expertise with the world. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first time speaker, we want to hear from you!

IAC is a leading information architecture conference where information architects, UX designers, content strategists, taxonomists and...

Sep 17 2019

Sent via email to all active members (and those 30 days past due).

As promised, we are writing today to announce our decision about the future of the IA Institute.

Before we get there, we would like to thank you. The support we have received over the last 17...

Dec 18 2018

All funds will support World IA Day 2019 worldwide organizations

Buy this great shirt to support Wear your support for World Information Architecture Day 2019 and its theme Design for a Difference . As designers, we are responsible for creating worlds of experiences, environments,...