SIGIA-L Mail Archives: SIGIA-L: On a related note (?)
SIGIA-L: On a related note (?)
Date: Wed Jun 28 2000 - 18:12:50 EDT
Last week I proposed a project to the InfoDesign-Cafe newsgroup to try to
come up with a "Guide to the Information Design Body of Knowledge" or
My email appears below.
I haven't received much feedback from ID-Cafe yet, but that's probably due
my tendency to write horribly long emails. I'd rather be conversing than
Anyway, have a look. It's my inspiration for what I think might be a good
I've been scraping together a few notes on my laptop to try to start getting
framework going. I had a fantastic discussion with my wife this past weekend
about whether it even makes sense to identify "information architect" or
"information designer" as a professional title; often these seem more like
playable by anyone in an organization than specific job titles.
I'm struggling with questions like "is Information Architectue a subset of
Information Design"? "What are the identified 'best practices'?" etc.
Feedback would be hugely appreciated!
From: chuck.lutz_at_telelogic.com [mailto:chuck.lutz_at_telelogic.com]
Sent: Friday, June 16, 2000 1:04 PM
Subject: ID-Cafe: Getting the ducks in a row - IDBOK (yet another
In recent months I've seen discussion on this list about how
the ID community can get some consensus, increased exposure,
better establishment as a recognized profession, etc.
One project that was proposed was the www.informationdesign.org
site, which remains a fantastic idea IMHO*. Perhaps due to what I
perceive to be the fact that everyone is just plain too busy, the
development of that site is maybe going more slowly than expected.**
However, with time, hopefully it will evolve into a powerhouse. Hmmm,
maybe it's not the best time to propose something new after all! :-)
Here's the idea:
As a developing professional community grows, it naturally goes through
what might be phases/cycles of various activities. Examples are develop-
ment of and debate about theories, efforts to put theory into practice,
creation of communication and consensus devices (e.g. journals, conferen-
ces), and efforts to reach out to other disciplines that might have
interest or relevance. There are probably plenty of others.
Eventually, as more people enter the community or become involved through
whatever means (especially with the advent of the realization of the
impact of the profession on public life at large), things can start to
get "out of control". Thus, every now and then it becomes necessary to
sort of step back and look at the big picture. Meetings such as conferen-
ces (and if the group will indulge me, ID-Cafe as well) help with this
purpose, plus with just plain keeping people up to speed on what's
However, occasionally there is the chance to try to take the measure of
the whole State of the Union, to encyclopedically capture a snapshot of
both the forest and the trees. Such an effort helps us know who "we" are and
where the profession is going, and to establish common directions. Also, it
can help solidify our collective knowledge and make it more accessible to
outsiders, to those the profession serves, the "public"...
Both the practices of Project Management and Software Engineering have found
it beneficial to try to take on such a job. The device they're using -
pioneered by, as far as I can tell, the Project Management community -
is the "Guide to the Body of Knowledge" of the profession.
I'll let you all do your own invesigations in order to get an appeciation
of the scope of such a thing (no doubt some of you are already familiar
with this idea):
1) Project Management Insitute's "Project Management Body of Knowledge"
guide/project: http://www.pmi.org/publictn/pmboktoc.htm - Download the
PDF file for free. You'll see why I chose the adjective "encyclopedic";
it's a wonderful survey of the profession's collective knowledge and
2) Software Engineers are inspired by PMI's efforts: http://www.swebok.org/
This is a newer, less complete effort. Still, the downloadable public draft
gives a good feeling for the scope.***
Attempting such a project for the ID community would certainly be a huge
undertaking, especially considering all the debates about exactly what ID
is, the boundaries of the field, etc. But since people are going to debate
that anyway, why not capture such "soul-searching"?
Such a "guide" also would nicely summarize the field to newcomers (like
myself!). I'm sure the long-time veterans on this list have a much better
feel for the feasibility of such a project than I. However, considering
-introductory attempts to summarize the field, such as Jacobson's
"Information Design" seem to be emergent recently, indicating a sense of
need for such a consensus;
-the entire field/profession of ID seems to be enjoying an increase in
demand due in no small part to the proliferation of the Internet and
"new media"; and
- ID seems to be getting some recognition from "interdisciplinary" sources
(see e.g. Ben Shneiderman's article "Universal Usability" in the May 2000
issue of the "Communications of the ACM" magazine).
...perhaps then the time is ripe for the "Information Design Body of
Feel free to tell me I'm crazy; just do it nicely! ;-)
Info Design Novice & Enthusiast
* I had shown interest in helping with the project at the time the idea came
to life; but was too concerned with sorting out the details of my impending
matrimony. Now that that's done, my interest still stands!
** To be honest, I've been getting a lot of use out of Peter Bogaard's site.
May I ask an honest, open question? Not to knock the efforts behind
www.informationdesign.org, but, has the job already been done? (Just asking
- no offense intended to anyone just in case! :) :) :)
*** My personal interest in ID is specifically the idea of introducing it to
the software design and engineering community - I think it would be a long
and happy marriage! I believe that s/w designers have A LOT they could learn
from the experience of all sorts of information designers.
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:54:20 EST