In the beginning, we digitized. We turned analog artifacts into digital artifacts. Letters for example, or ledgers. And music, of course. Then, our current reading goes, we started “digit-al-izing”, a different thing altogether: we applied digitization to the larger processes. In the 1980s, digitalization was already underway in a number of industries but, as usual, the future was not evenly distributed.
Robert J. Glushko & Graham Freeman
Using an Information Architecture Approach to Understand Musical Complexity
This article applies elements of information architecture to the analysis of musical works. The intention is to provide an effective and logical way for people with minimal background in music to learn to analyze music. The authors draw on both musical literature and the work of Robert J. Glushko in “The Discipline of Organizing” (2013) to give non-musicians a way to think about music as organized information so that they can add ever-increasing layers of complexity as their skills at applying this approach improve.
In the field of information architecture, practice keeps pace as the domains and supporting technologies for digital design expand, leading to occasional updates of theory to account for change. Pervasive information architecture expanded tenets of clarity and findability from classical information architecture to account for placemaking as information began shape-shifting across devices and situations. This article suggests that, building on classical and pervasive information architecture, the field is ready to expand to ecological information architecture. This time, in addition to situational changes (new technologies and domains), the discovery of more facets in information as the raw material of design, and information behavior, drawn from adjacent fields, play major roles. Even as ecological information architecture is introduced, glimmers of what the next reframing must address are already surfacing. As information architects, we welcome this ongoing discovery as we look to situate designs coherently within our actors’ shifting surroundings, and engage them with information in ways that feel deeply human.
From Hypertext to Hypercontext
The role of the Information Architect is to sit at the nexus of business, audience and technology, and to negotiate the interests, needs and expectations of each group. That is – to communicate a shared understanding that translates the esoteric language of an organisation’s inner workings into the common parlance of everyday people. This dialogue is mediated by the capabilities (and constraints) of the technology platform that serves as the interface between the two.
Fall 2021 is the current issue of the Journal of Information Architecture. The Spring-Fall 2022 issue will open in November 2022. Andrea Resmini is the Editor-in-Chief for the issue.