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Jul 25, 2002: Enterprise Information Architecture is Fun

When Terry Swack asked me to present on information architecture for the enterprise at the AIGA Experience Design Summit a couple weeks ago, I was surprised. I didn't think the ED crowd would be particularly concerned with models for positioning IA-related services within the larger enterprise context, no matter how much I tried to couch it in ED terminology.

Well, as Terry points out, I should listen to her more. The talk raised a surprising amount of good comments; clearly this is a topic of broader relevance. (Erin Malone wrote up a great summary of the event, including my talk, for Boxes and Arrows; thanks Erin!) And a few folks have emailed me to get a copy of the Powerpoint file. If you're interested, you can download both my AIGA-ED presentation, as well as the original, longer presentation given at the IA Summit in Baltimore last March, from my site's Presentations page.

Of course, if you're really interested, buy the new edition of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, which has a chapter devoted to this very topic. ;-) It'll be in bookstores in late August.

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Comment: Bob Stewart (Aug 7, 2002)

Lou, I thought this was as good a place as any to post this.

I know you've done a lot of work on Intranets. However, you've written precious little about it. I'd be interested in reading an article about what problems most corporate intranets face, why they're not related to technology, and what advice you have for making a company intranet successful.

Comment: Lou (Aug 7, 2002)

Bob, good suggestion. And it's funny, because I have been more involved with intranets than public sites (although I've covered intranets in broader contexts, including the new edition of our book). Is there a publication you'd recommend as a good venue?

Comment: MadMan (Aug 9, 2002)

I'm not Bob, but how about right *here*?

There are so many publications on the Web, and being Lou Rosenfeld, you pretty much have your pick of them, no? Just make sure it's not in a dead tree version. Some of us don't live in USA. ;)

Just the other day, someone at a big tech company was lamenting to me, "MadMan, we built this Intranet... it's got cool technology, but our employees aren't using it. What can I do?" and I asked, "But do your employees get what *they* want/need from it? Or is the Intranet just a bunch of ideas your CEO came up with? Do you have an Intranet team who are responsible for the Intranet, or is it just maintained by odd people when they find some spare time? Can people actively collaborate on various projects using the Intranet, or is it just a collection of information pages?"

And he just sighed...

Er, where was I? Oh yeah, publish it anywhere on the Web. The Blog Collective will do the rest anyway. :p

Comment: Mike Jaixen (Aug 14, 2002)

I'm anxiously awaiting "PB II" for more insight on Enterprise IA myself. In my mind, the toughest question of actually doing "Enterprise IA" (once you get through the politics and bureaucracy), is where do you start? You can then break each section up and address it individually just fine. But it's that first level that is the toughest - and some times the least intuitive.

You can't base it off of the current organization, because you know that was wrong. You can't just start with a subset of content because it might not be representative of the whole. You could try to do a content inventory - but that's a moving target.

I know there's an architecture in there somewhere...

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