The philosophy of data

The Information Architects (IA) forum throws up the occasional topic that generates a polarised response. One such perennial topic is how to simply define the role of an information architect. Five years on and they still haven’t settled on a definitive description.

Elsewhere on the forum, content (which is my specialty) raises its ambiguous head too, most recently, in what a content strategist purports to do. A long string of contributor responses all failed to identify what is for me, the core element of any such ‘content’ strategy. And that is, what are the online business objectives of the site/organisation in the first place. Only once these have been thoroughly and simplistically articulated, can any sort of content strategy be formulated.

One of the replies pointed to a September 2008 Box and arrows article meant to explain all. It does nothing of the sort. The author uses an analogy to help explain the confusion: “Content strategy is to copywriting as information architecture is to design.” Yeah, I thought it nailed it too! The author finds “this analogy to be especially encouraging because six years ago, as the crest of the first wave of the web was about to break, people had no idea what ‘information architecture’ meant either.” And based on that analogy people in six years time won’t have a clue what content strategy means either.

Read The Philosophy of Data article in full here.

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