Thursday, January 18, 2024

January 18, 2024

Moving Information Across Boundaries; Using Information Theory in Information Architecture


Gary Carlson

6:00 pm

Pacific Time



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The primary goal of Information Architecture is moving information across boundaries: From one place to another, from one person to another. Boundaries can be created by distance, culture, language or experience. Systems, workflows, organizations, or interfaces also present boundaries, each with its own set of challenges that need to be addressed.

Understanding the information, senders, receivers, and technology allows IAs to mitigate the friction or entropy that each boundary represents. The better this understanding the more effective we are at bridging informational barriers.

Using many of the core concepts of Claude Shannon’s Information Theory, Marcia Bates' work, and experience with a wide range of projects, this presentation will unpack real-world examples of the power of Information Architecture to bridge barriers between people and information and provide a framework for defining and then crossing boundaries.

Participants will take away:

  • A good understanding of how information theory relates to Information Architecture and Content Strategy
  • How to view IA and CS through an Information Theory lens
  • How this information theory lens can directly impact our work, deliverables, and how we frame these problems.

About the speaker(s)

Gary Carlson

With over 20 years of experience as a taxonomist, consultant, and information strategist, Gary collaborates closely with clients to develop the kind of information infrastructure that can deliver business success and a more positive user experience.

Gary has worked extensively on major information and knowledge management projects and products spanning taxonomy tools, search, auto-categorization, content management, governance, and overall information infrastructure. He has provided solutions for some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Adobe, Corbis, Crate & Barrel, Disney, Group Health, IBM, Microsoft, Pearson Publishing, REI, and Sears.

Gary is a founding partner at Factor and can occasionally be found kayaking around Southeast Alaska.

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