Although the concept of the ‘architecture of information’ dates back to IBM’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1970, Richard Saul Wurman holds the credit as the Father of Information Architecture. He coined the term ‘Information Architect’ in 1975 while serving as the National Chairman of the American Institute of Architects convention held in Philadelphia in 1976. From this time until the mid-nineties, the field was mostly unknown. It was not until the rise of the world wide web that information architecture went mainstream. In 1998, Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville wrote a book, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, which officially launched the field and the term Information Architect into our vernacular.
Our field is still relatively young and the definition of Information Architect still varies to some degree. But as the lines between physical and virtual environments blur, I still believe the best definition is given by Richard Saul Wurman in his book Information Architects:
In•for•ma•tion Ar•chi•tect [L infotectus] n. 1) the individual who organizes the patterns inherent in data, making the complex clear. 2) a person who creates the structure or map of information which allows others to find their personal paths to knowledge. 3) the emerging 21st century professional occupation addressing the needs of the age focused upon clarity, human understanding and the science of the organization of information.
What is World IA Day?
World Information Architecture Day is a one-day annual celebration hosted by the Information Architecture Institute and held in dozens of locations around the world. We are a community of like-minded professionals and enthusiasts who share the common goal of practicing, learning, teaching and shaping the future of information architecture.
Why did you bring World IA Day to Tampa Bay?
I brought World IA Day to Tampa Bay because I believe in information architecture. I believe it is important for people to understand and I am very passionate about growing awareness of this practice. It was also very important to me to mentor people in our community and create bridges across disciplines.
World IA Day Tampa Bay is a free day of learning. A place where it is safe to ask questions and explore concepts to further understanding. You do not have to have the title Information Architect to architect information. It is important to understand that people practice information architecture all the time whether they realize it or not. Information is all around us and we produce and consume it more now than ever before. If people recognize when they are practicing IA then there is a better chance they will consider their structures and language thoughtfully, helping make the world a clearer place. World IA Day gives us a vessel to bring IA awareness to our community while connecting with other like-minded people in Tampa Bay and around the world.
Why is World IA Day Tampa Bay important?
My long term goal with World IA Day has always been to empower others in the community to step up and lead. I worked for the first two years to lay a solid foundation for the celebration to exist; making it easier to one day hand over to others in our community. Because of the work I have done in Tampa Bay, I was asked to be the Global Executive Producer for World IA Day 2017. I accepted and through this volunteer position, I served and supported organizers around the world in more than 24 countries. It was a truly amazing experience.
Through this work Tampa Bay now has a place within the global IA community, which will be important as our economy grows and companies begin to understand the need for Information Architects. I bring my learning back to our community to freely give it to others. World IA Day Tampa Bay is a collaborative effort that enables people to learn and understand information architecture through real-world projects that have a positive impact in our community.
Since our first celebration we have helped a community garden bring clarity to members and visitors through signage, we have explored possibilities that would bring nature back into our cities and support carfree living and we have helped a local non-profit bring certainty to their mission and purpose to improve their website and community engagement efforts. We are excited about the work we are doing and hope to continue it well into the future.
About Amy Espinosa
Amy Espinosa is an Information Architect based in Tampa, Florida. She has a passion for growing IA awareness and is an active member of the Information Architecture Institute.
Dots & Cubes is her consulting practice which focuses on information architecture in urban environments. She is particularly interested in cultural and historical preservation as well as transportation planning and community gardening.