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Information architecture books

Note: The books listed here involve a definition of information architecture that is broader than just web design.

book imageInformation Architects
by Richard Saul Wurman, New York: Graphis, 1996.
The book that really coined the phase "information architect." This is a definitive work that deftly explains the concept of information architecture through 24 case studies. The book is an illustrated overview of how some designers have tackled the problem of structuring information (in physical and virtual spaces) so that they facilitate discovery and understanding. Best sections: Richard Curtis' weather page work for USA Today, Don Moyer's furniture guide that maps Steelcase's product relationships, and Muriel Cooper/ David Small's "information landscapes" at what was MIT's Visible Language workshop.


book imageInformation Anxiety 2
by Richard Saul Wurman, Indianapolis: Que, 2000
Information Anxiety is Wurman's very personal testimony of his career as an information architect. He uses his own story to 1.) define the field of information architecture and design, 2.) define his philosophy of the information architect as someone who actively questions & converses, seeking to empower users through explanation, and 3.) explain why these skill sets are important to business for people like Information Architects. The book reads as a collection of thoughts and concepts towards improving the business of communication. Consequently, it is quite stimulating, but if you are looking for groundbreaking insight, it is unlikely you'll find it here.


book imageInformation Architecture
by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, Sebastopol: O'Reilly, 1998.
Also known as the "polar bear" book, this work provides an account of the Information Architect's role as an organizer and designer, along with outlines of basic practices involved with labelling, structuring and search-related activities. Essentially relevant to the web, but applicable in other contexts.


book imageExperience Design
by Nathan Shedroff, Indianapolis: New Riders, 2001
This book is as stylish as it is informative. A designer's coffee table book that presents the concept of experience design in a rich montage of unconventional type & image. Designers may find this book a little too cursory, probably because it appears more or less written to appeal to a broad audience. Nevertheless, it's good and it's loaded with some thought-provoking examples.


book imageMan-Made Philadelphia: A Guide to Its Physical and
Cultural Environment

by Richard Saul Wurman, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1972
An interesting book that deconstructs and reveals the city of Philadelphia, PA through words, images and diagrams that detail how it has evolved over time as a system. This book is broken into four sections or perspective aspects of the city: Routes, Areas, City and Regional Data, Plans and Planners. Filled with odd data bits, like a note on one page that (in 1972) "each year the city tows away approximately 26,000 abandoned cars", or about one every twenty minutes.