May 10, 2002

Story of information

Information wants to be found. Somebody created the information to be used (including the coding of an application to extract data to form information). Information (both good and bad) has inherent value. Information that can not be found or used is wasted money and wasted time. Information requires a structure around it to increase its findability. Attempting to make information available with out a usable structure around it is a recipe for failure. Information without a usable structure surrounding it wastes the time of the person (or worse, persons) who created the information, prepared the info for dissemination, and the person/persons/application looking for that information. The waste of time and money by not having a usable information structure or not having any information structure is problematic and, in this day and age, inexcusable waste of vast money, time, and other resources.

The solution lies in working with people who understand information structure. Often these folk are called "information architects". Technology should not be the first step to solving information capturing, storing, structuring, and presentation needs. Human minds are the best first step. Human minds that have training and experience in solving these problems is the best bet. These humans are often called information architects, which:

  • Understand that most often the users of information are not the person in the cube or office next door
  • Know the users of the information often do not know the creator of the information
  • Know the users of the information may not understand the structure of the organization that created the information
  • Know the user wants to find the information
  • Know the user wants read and use the information in a format they can access
  • Know the user will want to consume the information and repurpose that information
  • Know that if the user finds what they are looking for and you are providing it the user will often be interested in finding other related or similar information
  • Know how to work with designers and technical developers to ensure the needs of your information and the user are joined together
  • Know there are many methods of finding information (search, navigation, etc.) and none of these are perfect on their own, but know how to best augment the technologies to provide the best result
  • Know that at the heart of this information transaction is the information and the user, which is where the focus belongs
  • Know how to increase findability and make the attraction between the user and the information stronger
  • Know in the long run their work saves money and time because their experience has proven what they know works

Posted Comments

Hi Thomas! I have a problem with these statements: 1. Information wants to be found. (though I agree with this one: the user wants to find the information) 2. Information (both good and bad) has inherent value. I have trouble with how you've attributed desires to information. How could information _want_ anything? On the second point, I don't think information is good or bad, nor do I think it has any inherent value. It can only be perceived as good or bad (or perceived as having value) by its consumer. Perhaps you could further explain the statements above? Cheers!

Thanks Brad. Taking the definition of information being part of an communication process, the information wants to be found. If the information is not found the communication process has been broken and the information is just a collection of digital ones and zeros, until it is read.

There is inherent value information. The value is input in the creation of the information from just data points or observation. Information is data with value added. Information that has value added becomes knowledge. Getting the information infront of the user that can use that information is important. Attracting the information to the user or making the information findable is important getting the information used.

Let me know if I am still missing stones in the stream to get the readers across.

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