A faceted metadata navigation system

· Information Architecture

Recently the IA Institute list was discussing faceted search interfaces and Rashmi Sinha wrote “Now you can build your very own faceted metadata navigation system based on Flamenco Download (thank Marti Hearst, not me. I have not worked on Flamenco in a little while).”
Flamenco was developed at SIMS (UC Berkeley). Sinha, who was involved with it a while back, says, “The interface is somewhat busy, but it supports more complex information finding tasks very well (we did a lot of testing with architects using an architectural image database).”
If you’re like me, “faceted metadata” is confusing enough without tying it to “navigation system,” in which case viewing a live example may help.
If you want to know more, Sinha also posted links to two articles for further reading.

A web-based card sorting tool

· Information Architecture

A while back I posted an entry here about Uzanto’s MindCanvas, an application for doing user research. A week or so ago, Cody Burleson of IBM Global Business Services posted a link to the IA Institute members mailing list about a web-based card sorting product called Websort. I haven’t tried it out, but it looks like it could be useful when you can’t do card sorting in person.
Following up, Lou Rosenfeld points out that Donna Maurer, who is writing a book on card sorting for Rosenfeld Media, is maintaining a comprehensive list of card sorting tools.

Simple Knowledge Organisation System (SKOS)

· Information Architecture

Did you know the W3C has a standard for taxonomies and other classification schemes (Simple Knowledge Organisation System)?
Neither did I. But apparently, Jay Fienberg did, since he just mentioned it on the IA Institute mailing list. I doubt it would be of any use in communicating with clients, but I wonder if it might be useful for delivering machine-readable hierarchies to site developers?

Why you shouldn't start with a Content Inventory (or should you)?

· Information Architecture

Leisa Reichelt, a Digital Experience Architect, writes Why you shouldn’t start IA with a Content Inventory at her blog, disambiguity. This has spurred an interesting debate in blogs and mailing lists, with a response at Donna Maurer’s blog and further discussion elsewhere (read the comments on the blogs for more).
Naturally, once the rhetoric has died down the debate ends up a bit in the usual “it depends” fog, but any argument against exhaustively tedious work deserves a second look, from my perspective.

IA and UI as building blocks of SEO

· Information Architecture

In SEO, Information Architecture and Interface Design, Shari Thurow writes:

The most important building block of SEO is the information architecture. If you want your HTML/XHTML, audio, video, and image files to generate qualified search engine traffic, the key ingredient to making these files appear relevant are the information architecture and the interface that communicates this architecture.

(Hat tip to Peter Morville.)