The term ‘information architects’ was first coined by
Richard Saul Wurman in his 1997 book of the same name:
There is a tsunami of data that is crashing onto the beaches of the
civilized world. This is a tidal wave of unrelated, growing data formed in bits and bytes, coming in an unorganized, uncontrolled, incoherent
cacophony of foam. None of it is easily related, none of it comes with any organization methodology.
Now for the good news: There is a dune on the beach. There is a breakwater in the ocean that is clearly emerging in these last fleeting moments of the 20th century. The breakwater is indeed breaking up the tsunami of data and focusing it in a more organized way to answer our questions and concerns. There is a new breed of graphic designers, exhibition designers, illustrators and photographers, whose passion it is to make the complex clear.
I call this new breed of talented thinkers Information Architects . . .
Though ‘information architecture’ was perhaps first popularized and adopted from librarians or practitioners in information science, there is of course a substantial overlap with those computer scientists who are concerned with such areas as information retrieval, text indexing and categorization, classification, metadata and user interfaces and experience. However, like many other domains that have similar topic interests but different academic training, largely different networks and terminology may develop. (The example of pattern matching comes to mind where researchers in communications, streaming media, bioinformatics, information retrieval, and statistics — among others — too rarely share algorithms and insights.)
I have recently discovered a very useful source of information arcitecture materials, called IAwiki.net. Launched in 2001 by Eric Scheid, the wiki now contains more than 1,000 topic pages from ACM to XML and links to about 300 IA professionals.
So, if you have interest in any of the nouns mentioned in this post, check out this wiki. I think you will find plenty of value and may choose to offer insights of your own.