LIS 861: Information Architecture (Form and Content in Theory and Practice)
This is a graduate course studying the relationship between form and content in the structure and transmission of information. Federal (U.S.) usability guidelines define “information architecture” as the “organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way,” with the goal of helping “users find information and complete tasks.” In order to achieve those outcomes, we will approach information architecture not only as a set of practices for web development and implementation, but also as a prompt to think about how and why information is structured as it is in print, digital, and other formats – at under different historical, social, and cultural conditions that shapes information, its representation, and its users. Therefore, we will explore practical issues in web design such as coding, usability, navigation, and evaluation always with an eye toward situating these within the larger (and sometimes theoretical or historical) contexts of paratextuality, genre, accessibility, print/digital culture, and media history. The goal of our explorations of form and content in theory and practice is both basic skills in information architecture for and sophisticated graduate-level understanding of past, present, and future issues pertaining to the representation of information.