|Related fields and sub-fields|
Information architecture (IA) is the structural design of shared information environments; the art and science of organizing and labelling websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability; and an emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design, architecture and information science to the digital landscape. Typically, it involves a model or concept of information that is used and applied to activities which require explicit details of complex information systems. These activities include library systems and database development.
Information management lies between data management and knowledge management. Data management focuses on handling individual pieces of data for example by using databases. Knowledge management focuses on information that exists within a humans mind, and how to extract and share this.: : 9Information Architecture is distinct from process management but there are often valuable interactions between information and process and practictioners have developed tools such as information/process matrices.
Information architecture has somewhat different meanings in different branches of information systems or information technology:
The difficulty in establishing a common definition for "information architecture" arises partly from the term's existence in multiple fields. In the field of systems design, for example, information architecture is a component of enterprise architecture that deals with the information component when describing the structure of an enterprise.
While the definition of information architecture is relatively well-established in the field of systems design, it is much more debatable within the context of online information(i.e., websites). Andrew Dillon refers to the latter as the "big IA–little IA debate". In the little IA view, information architecture is essentially the application of information science to web design which considers, for example, issues of classification and information retrieval. In the big IA view, information architecture involves more than just the organization of a website; it also factors in user experience, thereby considering usability issues of information design.
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