IA Institute Newsletter - #6.08 2011

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


IAI News

  • Turning our Attention Toward the IAI Website
  • World IA Day Update: Sign Up for the WIAD Newsletter, Announcement Soon
  • Member Discount for MobX, WebVisions Atlanta, UX London and Ux-Lx

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

IAI NEWS - http://iainstitute.org/news/

Turning our Attention Toward the IAI Website

The IAI website has been in our sights for some time, certainly since our election. It has taken us this long to even characterize the problem. Ultimately, we're looking at nearly a decade of accretion and agglomeration of content:

  • Thousands of pages
  • Over a dozen languages
  • A dozen different publishing platforms
  • Half a dozen disparate third-party hosted services

    (that don't talk to each other)

Our human resources consist of a loosely-knit group of volunteers scattered around the planet, in different cities, countries and time zones, who work 40, 50, even 60 hours a week making software and websites. Frankly, it's a miracle that anybody so much as wants to look at this stuff on their off-hours (and for that, volunteers, we thank you).

It's obvious that we can't tackle this problem the way we do our day-jobs.

For the IA institute, a website is not just another media property. It is the brain, spine, and central nervous system of a globally-distributed virtual organization. Attempts to treat it like our clients' projects, if not already inhibited by the sparsity of the people available to advance it, have been and will continue to be ground to a halt by the fact that we are our own patients.

There is a parable near the end of Herbert Simon's The Sciences of the Artificial which is applicable to our case, which I will paraphrase here:

In an unspecified town, there are two watchmakers. Their watches are prized for miles around. The telephones in each of their shops continually ring with new orders.

Each watch is composed of a thousand parts. If one of watchmakers stops building to answer the phone, the partially-complete product disintegrates and must be reassembled, losing the work that was done in the interim.

One of the watchmakers devises a method of composing ten of the smallest parts of a watch into a larger part, then ten of those larger parts into an even larger part, until a finished watch only comprises ten parts. The other one continues to try to build thousand-piece watches, part by part.

It should be obvious at this point which of these people moves onward to wealth and fame, and which is unable to fill orders to the point that the orders eventually dry up.

In the same book, Simon also wrote the following: Solving a problem simply means representing it so as to make the solution transparent.—a principle to which I ardently subscribe.

What This Means For the IAI Site

The IAI website is not a problem of technology, or even of project management, but one of conceptual integrity. As Frederick Brooks says, without a single coherent mental model for a given endeavour, we will have as many mental models as there are people involved. It is likewise a gratuitous assumption that our Web presence would be any more coherent or organized than our community of practice at large.

As such, rather than promising to launch a shiny new artifact into the community, we are introducing a process that makes continual and ongoing improvement not only possible, but the path of least resistance.

This is why we began back in February of 2011 with an artifact that could be evaluated wholly separately from application domain, technology or representational medium. I speak, of course, of our conceptual model, which will serve as the litmus test for all current and future initiatives, materials and functionality. The consistency of the model itself will likewise invariably be tested against these resources.

Characterizing the IA Institute

In addition to this model, we have also begun to inventory and analyze the contents of the IA Institute's Web properties. The inventory is currently an RDF database of metadata gathered from each page by a custom-made Web robot. Its chief value currently resides in assessing the scope of work and informing our next steps, though we are fairly confident that the Semantic Web will play a lasting role in our progress, at least in some form.

The path information was generated by another custom piece of code to identify natural cliques of resources which may hint at particular areas of interest. This information will be useful for assessing the composition of the site.

There is also a prototype of a tool for viewing both sides of a link at once, which we expect will come in handy in the later stages of content development.

We are sharing this information because it is ready and available, and represents work which is already done. It is only a partial account of the work pertaining to the IAI site that we have performed. It is our policy going forward to place a moratorium on aspirations and relegate our communications on this matter to tangible results, either in the form of finished products or of precursor materials pertaining to clear, well-defined tasks for what we anticipate to be a considerable volunteer effort.

World IA Day Update: Sign up for the WIAD Newsletter, Announcement Soon

World IA Day 2012: Designing Structures for Understanding will be held on 11 February 2012. We now have confirmed sites on six continents. To be the first to hear the list of 14 locations, join the World IA Day mailing list at:


Subscribe to our newsletter


Local Connections. Global Impact. World IA Day 2012.
Website: http://worldiaday.org/
Twitter: @worldiaday
Email: info@worldiaday.org

Member Discount for MobX, WebVisions Atlanta, UX London and Ux-Lx

We are pleased to announce discounts at several upcoming events. MobX, the premier annual conference for Mobile User Experience, small screen Interaction Design and usable interfaces on smart devices will be held in Berlin on 17-18 November. They are offering a discount for IA Institute members of 60 Euros (82 Dollars).

Also, WebVisions Atlanta is being held from 17-18 November. IA Institute members receive a 14.4% discount. WebVisions is a nationally recognized conference that explores the future of web and mobile design, technology, UX and business strategy. WebVisions is a community driven event with an Indie/DIY/Getting Things Done attitude that started in Portland, Oregon way back in 2001 and features a fabulous lineup of visionary speakers and offer some great activities to promote networking and collaboration.

UX London is a unique three-day event combining inspirational talks with in-depth workshops presented by some of the industry's biggest names. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just beginning your career, UX London is your chance to add core skills, absorb strategic thinking, and learn advanced techniques from pioneers in the field. This year's speakers include Jared Spool, Jon Kolko, Dan Rubin, Luke Wroblewski, Janice Fraser, Stephen Anderson, Fred Beecher, Leah Buley, Leisa Reichelt, Travis Isaacs, Kevin Cheng and Kristina Halvorson. IA Institute members receive 10% off registration.

Finally, UX-Lx: User Experience Lisbon is offering a 15% discount to IA Institute Members. UX Lx is a three day event set in sunny Lisbon, Portugal, where the international community meets to hear an unparalleled speaker panel of world renowned leaders in their fields. UX Lx is the best place to hone up your skills in our 16 practical workshops. Let yourself be inspired by our 10 thought provoking talks or open up your mind in our 16 lightning sessions featuring exciting new up-and-comers. Super Early Bird is already discounted at 40% and is available through 11 November 2011. If you can't register before then, be sure to use our discount code and still get a sizable discount.

Visit the Member Center for discount codes and special registration links.


LOCAL GROUPS - http://iainstitute.org/en/network/localgroups/local_groups.php

Local Groups Connections Support World IA Day

World IA Day is happening around the world and we have many people to thank, most especially our local group partners. We would not be able to host such an ambitious event without committed local coordinators. We trust and appreciate our local partners because we have seen the energy and commitment they have in planning and carying out local events throughout the years.

And if you think we are talking about just places like San Francisco and London, think again. In the past year, we have offered support to local groups hosting events and conferences in Bangalore and Kuala Lumpur and promoted new IA local groups in Istanbul and Jakarta.

Coupled with the relationships we have developed through our mentoring program in local areas, we have developed a network of amazing people. Have you tapped into this network? If not, it might be time for you to join a local network or create one in your area.

Please visit the Local Groups page of our website for more information on how we can help you start and promote your group: http://iainstitute.org/en/network/localgroups/local_groups.php.

Be sure also to check out UX book clubs meeting November and December at http://iainstitute.org/en/network/localgroups/ux_book_clubs.php.


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

ASIS&T Bulletin - http://www.asis.org/bulletin.html
The Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology is a bi-monthly news magazine packed with developments and issues affecting the field, pragmatic management reports, opinion, and news of people and events in the information science community. The October/November 2011 edition is all about mobile: mobile websites, QR codes and the future of place-based digital collections. Plus a special IA features from Tibor Koltay, "Information Overload, Information Architecture and Digital Literacy," and a controversial IA column from Tom Haller, "Is Information Architecture Dead?"

Current Issue
October/November 2011
Vol. 38, No. 1
Full Text: PDF (Size: 3.9mb)

IA Summit 2012

Experience Across Channels. Mobile and multi-channel are stretching our work beyond the Web. How can the UX community do our best work for experiences across channels? Help answer that question by sharing your ideas, case studies, tools, tips and tricks in New Orleans. We expect to hear a lot of exciting, practical answers. Some may focus on one channel, like mobile, web or retail. Others may share war stories on bridging channels. Some may focus on classification, design or research tools, while others may look at the realities of business leadership, strategy or change. No matter what your story is, you have part of the answers we need. Please join the conversation and community that is the IA Summit.  Early Bird Pricing will be open from 1 November to 15 January.


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 sponsors for the Interaction 12 Conference in Dublin on 1-4 February 2012. It is an impressive list including Google, Microsoft, GE, Coroflot, Thomson Reuters, and HUGE, among others. We are very happy to join the distinquished list of patrons and partners. Registration for Interaction 12 is open. The keynote presenters are up and sponsorship opportunities are still available.


Web 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 American Society for Indexing recently announced the launch of the Digital Trends Task Force. The purpose of the ASI Digital Trends Task Force is to:

  • gather information about changes in digital publishing practices as they affect indexes
  • interface with leading digital publishing companies, suppliers, standards organizations and industry partners
  • find solutions for ensuring the inclusion of usable indexes in nonfiction eBooks and other digital formats
  • inform the Society and members about trends so that the profession can develop the skills required by production changes in digital publishing

The DTTF is active in the IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum) ePub 3.0 working group. In 2012 Jan Wright, DTTF co-chair, will be speaking at the O'Reilly's Tools of Change for Publishing and the WritersUA conferences. DTTF team members will be attending the upcoming Digital Book World, Book Expo America, Society for Technical Communication conferences, the annual meeting of the IDPF, as well as related regional meetings.

Please visit the ASI Digital Trends Task Force web page at:



NEW LIBRARY ADDITIONS - http://iainstitute.org/library/
The IA Library is a selection of resources related to the field of information architecture. The collection includes articles, books, blogs, translations and more. Each month, we will post the latest entries to the IA Library in this newsletter.


Color Theory and Application
by Elizabeth Hattemer (2011)

Intranet Resources: The Eternal Vicious Circle
by Patrick Walsh (November 6, 2011)


Reframer (Beta version)
by Nimbly Apps via Todd Zaki Warfel


UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS - http://www.iainstitute.org/calendar/
Some sponsored events offer discounts to IA Institute members. Please read descriptions carefully for instructions on discounts, if available. Visit our Member Center website for discount code.

November 16, 2011
London IA November 2011
London, UK

November 17 and December 15, 2011
TOGAF 9 and ArchiMate Foundation
Start dates:
17 November 2011
15 December 2011
Online distance learning

November 17-18
Web Visions Atlanta
Atlanta, GA, USA

November 18, 2011
MobX Conference
Workshop: 17 November
Conference: 18 November
Berlin, Germany

November 29-December 1, 2011
Online Information International Exhibition and Conference
London, UK

January 30-February 3, 2012
Follow the UX Leader - Workshops on Advanced Web Practices

February 1-4, 2012
Dublin, Ireland

February 11, 2012
World IA Day

February 17-18, 2012
UX Hong Kong
Kowloon, Hong Kong

February 24-25, 2012
Symposium on Usability, Information Design, and Information Interaction to Communicate Complex Information
Greenville, NC, USA

April 18-20, 2012
UX London
London, UK

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

IA Institute member discounts may be available for sponsored events.  Visit the Member Center for details and disount codes.


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.

Senior UE/IA - 11/7/11
Creative Circle, Boston, MA USA

Information Architect-RSA - 11/7/11
Federal Reserve Board, Washington, DC, DC USA

Information Architect - 11/7/11
Ironworks Consulting, Richmond, DC, VA USA

Information Architect - 11/7/11
TEKsystems, Houston, TX USA

Head of User Experience - London - to £75k - 11/7/11
IC Creative - Recruiter , London, GBR

Senior UX Designer - 11/4/11
lynda.com, Santa Barbara, CA USA

User Experience Architect - 11/4/11
BAM Strategy, Montreal, Qc CAN


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/

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