Week 10: Lecture

LMC's old server rack.
LMC’s old server rack. Think about the IA that goes into intranets–both web-accessible elements and file storage (folders, naming conventions, etc.).
  • Beginning of Class Writing
    • Click on the heading of this blog post title above–“Week 10: Lecture,” scroll down to the comment area, and write at least 250 words in response to this week’s readings. You can summarize the readings, you can relate the readings to your own experience or something else you have read or learned about, etc. Any writing of 250 words or more that are related to the readings are fair game for this weekly assignment at the beginning of class.
    • Post your comment after 20 minutes even if you don’t reach the 250 word minimum threshold.
    • Why we are doing this: It helps you organize your thoughts before discussion and it gives you regular writing practice.
  • Discuss this week’s readings.
  • Introduce the Final Team Project and Form Teams.
    • Primary deliverables are the collaboratively written report and in-class presentation with slidedeck.
    • Bonus points for creating a mock up of your website using GitHub or OpenLab/Wordpress (create as a Project).
  • Review homework and readings for next week. If you are behind on homework assignments or weekly writing assignments, get them done as soon as possible and let Prof. Ellis know what assignments you’ve caught up on via email.

10 thoughts on “Week 10: Lecture”

  1. The convergence of the Technical Communicator and the Information Architect, as per Mott and Ford begin by identifying the user of the information and how the user will use it. Technical communicators have become architects of information. IAs are user-focused and largely become task-focused online information strategists for delivering information.

    An IA is a jack of all trades.

    IAs must treat units of information as objects. They must be able to:

    • manage
    • create
    • present information (chunks) that will be integrated into a wide variety of communication products.

    Information architects must be familiar with XML to define objects effectively. To define objects IAs can use the following tools:

    • XML
    • taxonomy tools (a system of classification) and standards
    • DITA or Darwin Information Typing Architecture
    • existing XML documentation models
    • Database query Languages

    SQL lets a user definbe the structure and organization of the stored data and the relationships among stored data items.

    The role of the IA in the context of Technical Communication is a role where organization, classification and metadata are used as tools to create an information use experience.

    The starting point of IAs is identifying the audience and how the audience would use the information; its context. It is a truth that with the profusion of the digital the amount of information, available to individuals and organizations exceeds the ability to keep track using the traditional information tracking systems. The IAs must know the when, where, why and by whom relevant information is developed.


  2. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Khemraj Persaud

    DATE: 4/17/23

    SUBJECT: Weekly Reading Assignment

    The first article we read, “Information Architecture: Contributing Strategically to the Success of Our Customers and Our Businesses,” by Ames and Corbin, discussed the importance of the information architect in the realm of business operations. It touched upon factors such as the increasing amount of information distributed on the internet, the importance of information being presented in smaller chunks, and how information usability has changed from books to online. The main thing I took away from this article is that the information architect must be a jack of all trades in order to execute an informational game plan. In doing so, the IA becomes vital in the decision-making processes of a company because they are the ones in charge of where and how all data is interacted with.

    The second article we read, “Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture,” by Day, Priestley, and Schell, served as a manual to DITA. It was incredibly dense and technical, and I had some trouble getting through it. Although I understand that DITA is an XML-based, end-to-end architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information, the inner workings of it all were a bit confusing. This document will serve as an important reference point for me in my future career if and when I come across this.

    The third article we read, “The Convergence of Technical Communication and Information Architecture: Managing Single-source Objects for Contemporary Media,” by Mott and Ford, reminded me a bit of the first article we read in the sense that it demonstrated how much an information architect must know and is response for. Lots of future planning when implementing systems for data retrieval. The information architect, once again, plays a pivotal role in how and why information pathways are established. Many factors come into play, such as recognizing patterns, understanding communications flows within a specific organization, and extracting information from system users.

  3. Week 10 Readings


    Information Architecture is a multi-disciplinary field. It’s based on the knowledge and research from a variety of technical communication fields. Information Architecture has a different definition to many researchers and practitioners. Louis Rosenfield and Peter Morville defined Information Architecture as “the structural design of an information space to facilitate task completion and intuitive access to content.” I gathered from this definition that Information Architecture is the structure of information and navigation of information. The key purpose of Information Architectures is to organize information for users.


    The Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture explained the many features of the DITA Architecture. The Darwin Information Typing Architecture is a complex system that technical communicators use to sort information. The features that were mentioned and described was topic orientation, topic reuse, specialization, topic specialization, domain specialization, and property-based processing. DITA goes through a series of steps in order top fulfill its role in Information Architecture.


    Reading three explains about how the technical communication field continues to be confronted with new technologies. Technologies such as XML is a single sourcing and progressive form of information delivery. Technical communicators are playing a huge role in organizing and managing information for individuals. Units of information are identified as objects and tools. The examples would be low-level, intermediate-level, and high-level. Low-level objects are considered as individual words. Intermediate-level objects are considered as five paragraph author biographies. High-level objects are considered as corporate websites. Each level of objects holds a unique role when it comes to communicating information.

  4. TO: Prof. Ellis 

    FROM: Khaled Akam 

    DATE: April 17, 2023 

    SUBJECT: Architecture Success 

    Information architecture holds many fields needed to be successful. The process to succeed involves the organization, structure, and relationship between the information you build. With such information, supplying signposts between navigation is beneficial throughout the information being presented. Information needs to be classified and readily available to be easily accessible. The last thing is to put your information out there and this involves how to design and deploy the goal you want to achieve.  

    Darwin information typing architecture (DITA) packs everything into technical information designed for any type of content. DITA is made of extensible markup language (XML) for file storing data and represents document type definition (DTD). Most companies rely on distribution methods or process their data using XML, but as DITA unifies architecture principles, it is used even as a prototype in the early 2000s. Today DITA is still used in many large companies because it still captures the fundamentals and benefits of information architecture. DITA breakdowns are widely known and studied for this notable reason alone. The content DITA supplies can manage data through specializations of typed documents. 

    The technical communication field uses forms of delivery systems to supply information architecture to manage single-sourced multimedia for improving work. As new hardware and software are changing the choices we make for communication, our flexibility as a technical communicator is fundamental. Information architecture is the convergence of using tools such as the delivery system to effectively communicate a website or media to your users. If you are overwhelmed as an information architect, one way to close the gap of created content is to use such resources as DITA. When you get a job, you may have to learn skills and tools such as DITA which is extremely complex, but learning the basics of it now can give you an edge in the job field.  

  5. The article by Ames and Corbin, discusses how to contribute to the success of customers nad businesses. Yet, another definition of technical communication is shown in this text stating it is a multidisciplinary field requiring knowledge from other fields. The key elements defining information architecture in addition to analysis and design process are organization, structure and relationships between chunks of information, organizing structures, underlying classification schemes and metadata, the application of minimalism to ensure the appropriate information is presented to the readers, and strategic approach for implementers. Information architecture and information design as explicitly said to not be the same. There are different features of the WEb that have impacted information architecture. It is important to observe how the various tools and technologies create “exceptional information user experience for customers. 

    The second article, “Information to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture” talks about DITA which is an XML-based, end-to-end architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information. DITA consists of an XML document type definition (DTD) called “the topic DTD.” SGML (standard generalized markup language) allows “communities of data owners to describe their information assets in ways that reflect how they develop, store and process that information.” 

    The main features of the DITA architecture are topic orientation (highest standard structure in DITA is the topic) which can be reused on two levels, topic reuse and content reuse, specialization (new element is always associated to its base or any element in its specialization sequence which can be topic specialization or domain specialization), property-based processing and existing tags and tools. The benefits of the DITA architecture are encapsulation (designer needs to address a specific manageable problem domain) and message passing. 

    The third article discussed how technology has brought about many changes and the effect it has caused on our profession. Technical communicators should be able to incorporate different multimedia aspects which include text, graphic art, photographs, audio, video, animations and navigation. Some tools for information architectures can be used are Microsoft Viso, Inspiration, VUE (Visual Understanding Environment), Macromedia (Adobe) Dreamweaver.

  6. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Naila Butt

    DATE: 17 April 2023

    SUBJECT: Information Architecture New Jargon

    Hello Professor Ellis,

    I hope you had a lovely spring break!

    In the journal, Managing Single-Source Objects for Contemporary Media, I took note of the section on important tools in the field of information management, content organization, and technical documentation. This section highlighted key concepts such as XML, taxonomy, DITA, and Database Query Language, which I believe is important jargon for a technical writer. Understanding these tools and concepts can be beneficial in various contexts, such as managing data, creating structured content, and querying databases. While I am still slightly confused about these concepts, the readings are a good start!

    The IBM, Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture gave me more insight into what this tool entails. DITA is an XML-based architecture for creating, producing, and delivering technical information. It consists of design principles for creating modular, topic-based content for different delivery modes, such as online help and product support portals on the Web. At the core of DITA is an XML document type definition (DTD) called “the topic DTD,” representing the basic building blocks of a topic-oriented information architecture. 

    One of DITA’s unifying features that serve to organize and integrate Topics has no internal hierarchical nesting; for internal organization, they rely on sections that define or directly support the topic. I am hoping to find some visuals in regards to this information I read on DITA to grasp this fully.

    Contributing Strategically to the Success of Our Customers and Our Businesses opened my mind to the importance of information architecture and overall user experience. The aspects of interaction and visual design are the experiences that are typically most visible and receive the most focus from users. I thought about this idea and also related it to an ongoing project I am working on for my writing for new media class. Earlier in this class, we viewed multiple examples of professional portfolios. Some portfolios stood out due to the visually appealing designs that enabled interactivity with their site. These are essential concepts for information architecture that I have to keep in mind throughout my future projects. 

  7. To: Professor Ellis

    From: Sandy Fougeres

    Date: 4/17/23

    Subject: Weekly Readings

    In the article, Information Architecture: Contributing Strategically to the Success of Our Customers and Our Businesses, by Andrea L. Ames and Michelle Corbin, they spoke about the need for information architecture among technical communicators. It explained the importance of technical communicators using information architecture because information has increased and its medium has changed. It explains how information is no longer just found in books but that the internet has become the new medium for information and that there is a lot of it. The things I found interesting in this article is that it briefly describes the various definitions of information architecture and what it means. Regarding the meanings of information architecture, the one that I find helpful in understanding information architecture is Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville’s meaning, where they define it as “the structural design of an information space to facilitate task completion and intuitive access to content.”

    This definition makes sense to me as information architecture isn’t just designing information but making sure the information space is where information can be retrieved and assist in the completion of different tasks. Another thing I found interesting in this article is the emphasis on the difference between information architecture and information design. I personally thought of them being synonyms but from the article I can see how they are different. Describing information architecture as involving the analysis and design process and information design as involving the writing and development process, helped in explaining how they can be regarded as different disciplines. I find this helpful because although in the article it says that some people in the field see them as the same, I still think its good to know that there are nuances for when creating a technical document to be able to understand how to format, create or place information.

  8. In Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture: Toward Portable Technical Information Day, Priestly and Shell provides readers with an overview of Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). Darwin Information Typing Architecture Provides technical communicators with an XML-based architecture for producing technical documentation. Using DITA allows technical communicators to create specialized structures and content, while retaining interchangeability. It also allows them to solve current problems in information development.

    The Convergence of Technical Communication and Information Architecture: Managing Single-source Objects for Contemporary Media discusses how information architecture and technical communication are managing single-source objects for contemporary media. The author argues that converging of technical communication and information architecture would effectively manage single-source objects. The unification of technical communication and information architecture makes accessing content across different media easy.

    Introduction: Information Architecture: Contributing Strategically to the success of Our Businesses discusses the role of information architect and the importance of that role in the success of businesses. Arnes and Corbin argue that information architect is critical to the success of a business. Effective information architecture improves the user experience which improves the overall business. Information Architecture align information resources with business strategies.


  9. To: Prof Ellis

    From: Bria Glenn

    Subject: Week 10 Lecture

    Date: April 17, 2023


    As discussed in previous classes and from reading other articles, the definition of what information architecture is can be taboo. We do know it is something that is multi-dimensional but why? In Information Architecture: Contributing Strategically to the Success of Our Customers and Our Business by Ames and Corbin lays out why this is and how it can be seen not just from a writing or creating standpoint, but from a business mindset and why the two may or should go hand in hand. Information architects take on many roles and while many may think you can hire separate people to do different tasks, you can probably enhance your business if you hire the right person to do those specific tasks for your business. There may be people that serve roles in a company that whose responsibilities may directly align with an information architect but many won’t even know. Writing, editing and revising, structuring a layout for a website or document being used for proposals and even published work are all components of information architecture.

    In the second article Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture by Don Day, Michael Priestley and David Shell it speaks about what DITA is. It is an extensible markup language (XML) and is used to carryout dynamic tasks. With DITA, architecture is important because of the specific features that allow for organizing and integrating information. Similar to metadata being discussed in terms of intelligent content, you wouldn’t have to copy work, but instead reuse it within DITA itself. DITA’s many aspects gels together a relationship that allows for many possibilities in terms of operations. I think it is important to note that DITA is not a substitute for writing or structuring but and aid to help you in the process.

  10. To: Professor Ellis

    From: Tiana Beatty

    Date: April 17, 2023


    The articles for this week discuss the user experience and the tools an information architect would need in order to make the user experience readable and accessible. I summarized all the readings and will also give my opinion on what and how I think something like this would affect the publication of a site.

    The relationship between the user experience and the development of the website through information architecture is important as the two-go hand-in-hand. The information architects have to make sure and be wary of what they do and how can it affect the user experience when their site is explored and looked upon. There are a lot of components that must considered. But I believe the most important is deciding and thinking how the audience or users will react and use the site that information architects create. What would their first impressions be? Is it readable? How accessible is the site? I know the process, collaborative efforts, and designing of a website is equally important, but the user experience is the overall goal. This determines the success of the site. 

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