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Information architecture

Information architecture (IA) is the structural design of shared websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability; and an emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.[1] Typically, it involves a model or concept of information that is used and applied to activities which require explicit details of complex information systems. These activities include library systems and database development.

Information architecture is considered to have been founded by Richard Saul Wurman.[2] Today there is a growing network of active IA specialists who constitute the Information Architecture Institute.[3]


  • Definition 1
    • Debate 1.1
  • Information architect 2
  • Notable people in information architecture 3
    • Pioneers 3.1
    • First generation 3.2
    • Second generation 3.3
    • Influencers 3.4
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • Further reading 7


Information architecture has somewhat different meanings in different branches of IS or IT:

  1. The structural design of shared information environments.[4]
  2. The art and science of organizing and labeling web sites, intranets, online communities, and software to support findability and usability.[1][4]
  3. An emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.[4][5]
  4. The combination of organization, labeling, search and navigation systems within websites and intranets.[4]
  5. Extracting required parameters/data of Engineering Designs in the process of creating a knowledge-base linking different systems and standards.


The difficulty in establishing a common definition for "information architecture" arises partly from the term's existence in multiple fields. In the field of systems design, for example, information architecture is a component of enterprise architecture that deals with the information component when describing the structure of an enterprise.

While the definition of information architecture is relatively well-established in the field of systems design, it is much more debatable within the context of online information systems (i.e., websites). Andrew Dillon refers to the latter as the "big IA-little IA debate".[6] In the little IA view, information architecture is essentially the application of user experience, thereby considering usability issues of information design.

Information architect

Richard Saul Wurman says the term information architect is "used in the words architect of foreign policy. I mean architect as in the creating of systemic, structural, and orderly principles to make something work — the thoughtful making of either artifact, or idea, or policy that informs because it is clear.[7]

Notable people in information architecture


First generation

Second generation


See also


  1. ^ a b "What is IA?" ( .
  2. ^ "Richard Saul Wurman awarded for Lifetime Achievement". Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Join the IA Network". Information Architecture Institute .
  4. ^ a b c d Rosenfeld & Morville 1998.
  5. ^ Resmini, A. & Rosati, L. (2012). A Brief History of Information Architecture. Journal of Information Architecture. Vol. 3, No. 2. [Available at]. Originally published in Resmini, A. & Rosati L. (2011). Pervasive Information Architecture. Morgan Kauffman. (Edited by the authors).
  6. ^ Dillon, A (2002). "Information Architecture in JASIST: Just where did we come from?". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 53 (10): 821–23.  .
  7. ^ Wurman, Richard Saul. Information Architects. p. 17. 


  • Brown, Peter (2003). Information Architecture with XML (1st ed.). John Wiley & Sons Ltd.  

Further reading

  • Wei Ding; Xia Lin (15 May 2009). Information Architecture: The Design and Integration of Information Spaces. Morgan & Claypool.  
  • Sue Batley (January 2007). Information Architecture for Information Professionals. Woodhead Publishing.  
  • Earl Morrogh (2003). Information Architecture: An Emerging 21st Century Profession. Prentice Hall.  
  • Peter Van Dijck (August 1, 2003). Information Architecture for Designers: Structuring Websites for Business Success. Rotovision.  
  • Alan Gilchrist; Barry Mahon (2004). Information Architecture: Designing Information Environments for Purpose. Facet.  
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