Wednesday, March 22, 2017 from 9:00AM – 5:00PM
From your perspective, why is mapping the IA domain relevant?
Keith Instone: IA is who we are and what we do. It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of practice, and there is value in the weeds. But we also need to step back and look at the bigger picture of where we are going as a discipline. What models and assumptions are we basing our work on?
Stacy: IA got its start, back in the early days of the web, as a practice, a craft, and as a way to fill a huge, human-shaped gap in the design of digital spaces. We’ve sought for years to put our work in context. Part of that struggle comes from the gut realization that there’s more to what we do than craftwork. Climbing up onto higher ground, figuring out how to become a discipline, is going to enable us to do our daily work better AND design and teach better approaches and methods. It’s also going to let us chart a course that keeps IA relevant and making a difference as the world continues to change.
Sarah Rice: Information architecture has been a practice for over a decade now. It is useful to have a conversation about how it can become part of the permanent landscape as a proper discipline. This won’t happen organically, so our roundtable seeks to organize and galvanize like-minded people into taking action that they care about.
What are the biggest challenges in mapping the domain?
Sarah: The biggest challenge seems to always be educating others about the value and knowledge of IA as a discipline. Many people do it, but few do it explicitly. That’s ok. Expanding and codifying what we do as a discipline helps with permanence, understanding, adoption, and just a more organized world of information.
Keith: Things change fast: what is IA, what is information, what is the context of what we build information spaces. Bridging practice and academia and research gaps. Overcoming professional boundaries (such as historical library science, design, technology, and architecture silos).
How do people factor into mapping the domain for IA?
Keith: The roundtable addresses the future of IA as a discipline, which is based on the context of the future of technology and the future of society. As we map the domain of IA, we should include topics like the ethics of artificial intelligence in the discipline’s scope.
What is the most important thing you want participants to take away from the workshop?
Sarah: It’s a roundtable, so we expect participation, and those who attend get to help shape the future of information architecture as a discipline and a practice.
Keith: The most important is that people understand it is NOT a workshop. A “workshop” is people paying extra money to hear from an expert to learn more deeply on a well-known topic. We are doing a “roundtable” that is fundamentally different in format and goals. Each participant contributes (equally, ideally) and the topic is VERY exploratory. Roundtables are not for everyone, but we have been doing them a while and some people get a lot out of them. Some describe “head exploding” conversations that change the way they view IA forever. Others just enjoy the intellectual stimulation and take small pieces back to their day jobs.
Stacy: In addition to the conversations and ideas, as a group we’ll develop a diagram of the domain—a kind of a crosswalk between the landscape of applied work and the theories and models. We believe this domain map will help reveal opportunities to bring information architecture forward.
Keith: We want participants to have the big picture of IA as a discipline in their brains so that they can start to think about what it means for them personally, and for all of us.