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Mar 06, 2002: Taxonomies and Berrypicking

If you heard Microsoft's Vivian Bliss speak at IA2000 in La Jolla, you know that she and her team are at the cutting edge of intranet information architecture. Peter and I thought so, and profiled the work of Vivian, Alex Wade, and colleagues in our upcoming book. But you can get a sample of their taxonomy-driven approach from "Building Taxonomies," their instructive chapter in the just published Unlocking Knowledge Assets, (Susan Conway and Char Siglar, Microsoft Press, 2002). The chapter is available via the Web and is well worth the time.

Speaking of good reads, I've mentioned Marcia Bates' work here in Bloug before. Her accessible and highly influential "The Design of Browsing and Berrypicking Techniques for the Online Search Interface" is finally available on the Web. Every information architect and anyone who is interested in how people navigate through information should read this paper, which perhaps has more relevance today than when it originally appeared in 1989. It's excellent ammo to help you dispel the simple-minded IT-driven "input-output" model of information seeking that ruins so many information architectures.

Last note: thanks to all of you who generously advised me on purchasing a new laptop. A few lingering questions aside, it looks like I'll return to the Mac fold after all. I may be uncomfortably in love with Microsoft's intranet information architecture, but you can't accuse me of being a 100% shill for Redmond.

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Comment: Michael Angeles (Mar 6, 2002)

Thanks, Lou for posting these! Excellent stuff. And good luck with your laptop purchase. :)


Comment: Andrew "powerbook fiend" Hinton (Mar 6, 2002)

So, you're going to the PowerBook after all?? Wow. I didn't expect you to actually DO it! Hmmm.... Now I'm nervous.... if you really end up hating it, can I claim "plausible deniability"?
I actually do really like OS X...but I think I'm going to like it MUCH better 6-9 months from now, when things are more mature (and 3rd party folks get more of the apps totally updated, especially for my utterly necessary Palm).

Comment: Timothy (Mar 6, 2002)

So glad to hear you've decided to leave the dark side and return to good hardware and good software on Mac OS X.

Comment: Lou (Mar 12, 2002)

Just ordered a 14" iBook early this morning. :-) Can't wait!

Of course, if it doesn't work out, I'll hold each and every one of you responsible...

Comment: christina (Mar 14, 2002)

Hey! I voted for a ultraslim thinkpad. I still believe in living like the other 97%

Comment: Timothy (Mar 15, 2002)

Hey, hey, hey! It's more like 95% and falling, but that's just boring and "safe" anyway--like buying the cheapest Chevy.

Personally, I would have spent the extra $500 and gone for the Titanium PowerBook with the G4, larger screen, better graphics, thinner enclosure, and half pound less weight. (Actually, I do have one of those.)

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