Week 14: Lecture

inside the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Beginning of Class Writing
    • Click on the heading of this blog post title above–“Week 14: 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 Week 13 and Week 14 readings.
  • Discuss layout of Team Report and in-class presentation next week.
  • Continue the Final Team Project.
    • 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).
  • Preparation for next week: Learn about the City Tech Science Fiction Collection. We will have a field trip there to talk about its information architechture–how the items are arranged, how we use a finding aid to locate materials, etc.
  • 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.

8 thoughts on “Week 14: Lecture”

  1. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Naila Butt

    DATE: 15 MAY 2023

    SUBJECT: Peter Morville, Data Disclosure, Cultural Frameworks, and Reflection

    While reading the article “Maturing a Practice” in the Journal of Information Architecture, I was intrigued to discover that Peter Morvile was referenced throughout the text. I have been reading his book “Information Architecture,” co-authored with Louis Rosenfield, so I was able to recognize the references through the article!

    One particular point that caught my attention was Morville’s question: “Does IA push any bounds beyond client concerns? Is there any artful or conceptual pursuit in the discipline that’s not based on solving the immediate problem?” This question was interesting to ponder and prompted me to think about the broader role of IA and how it might transcend problem-solving concepts. However, I do believe that IA has the potential to go above and beyond immediate client concerns and bring a more conceptual or artistic approach. 

    “Information Architecture for Data Disclosure” by Kurt A. Pflughoeft et al. emphasizes the importance of preserving confidentiality while sharing data with the public. Public and private agencies face the challenge of determining how to release data for public use while protecting individuals’ privacy. This concept of “masking” data is a method that brings balance to data analysis. This article provided me with insightful context into the challenges of data disclosure which I find helpful in the future of my professional career. In addition, the article deepened my understanding of the complexities behind data disclosure and helped me strengthen my knowledge of my role as an Information Architect. 

    “The Architecture of Information: Open Source Software and Tactical Poststructuralist Anarchism.” in the journal Postmodern Culture by Michael Truscello, is an article that explores the surrounding discourse of computer programming and software engineering. I noticed that Raymond mentions metaphors of the bazaar and the cathedral and the ideas expressed by Michel Foucault – whom I am very familiar with in his work on the panopticon and societal institutions. Overall, the article discusses intricate connections between software development and other philosophical and cultural frameworks by illustrating metaphors to describe Open Source Development and how they align with poststructuralist concepts. 

    I must say this week’s set of readings might be my favorite for this semester. I would like to end this memo with a brief self-reflection. This semester has been one of hard work and personal growth! Throughout the semester, I have had the opportunity to engage in various activities that have challenged and pushed me beyond my limits. Each assignment and project brought its own set of unique challenges, allowing me to explore different aspects of my field of study. I am eager to push forward as new opportunities unfold and hope to put my newfound skills to work.

  2. Week 14 Readings

    The first reading, “Maturing a Practice,” enlightened my knowledge about the impacts on the acts of design for practitioners. It is deemed that research is a big role for user experience design. I learned that there are limitations and threats when it comes to information architecture. “Practice is characterized by an abundance of know-how and opinion.” This correlates to one of the threats mentioned in the reading. When it comes to maturation, validated knowledge is a key element. Subjects of information architecture include navigation, labeling, design, marketing and copy writing. The reading thoroughly explains about the practice, discipline and the role of research. 

    The second reading, “Information Architecture for Data Disclosure,”  talks about the issues the U.S is facing. Data disclosure is a problem that revolves around the lack of confidentiality in data analysis. Disclosed data is often released to the public which causes for concern. The data should be hidden away from unwanted eyes. Three types of data disclosures were introduced in the reading: Identity, Attribute, and Inferential disclosure. The solution to his problem is to put a stop to mask the data before release. This would suppress and re code the data to make it less disclosed. 

    The third reading, “Open Source Software and Post-structuralist Anarchism,” talks about the discourse of software engineering. Network software roles correlates with information architecture roles as they both reflect a huge importance of the web. The reading informs readers about the coding of information architecture. The values and importance of software and architecture is shown throughout the reading.  

  3. TO: Prof. Ellis 

    FROM: Khaled Akam 

    DATE: May 15, 2023 

    SUBJECT: Information Architecture Disclosure  

    Practice-led Research (PLR) knowledge can improve your discipline in information architecture (IA). The approach of PLR assists IA because of the users involved. Researching the user, or the user’s empathy we can attain practical information related to how interaction design and methods affect them. The growth of practice-led research has the potential to enhance the experiences of users. By meeting the needs of a user with the help of information architecture and user experience design (UXD), a shift of new knowledge will lead to better communication for participants. 

    Confidentiality is important when concerning data for public and private organizations. The challenge for preserving data is how to release data in such a way where only your organization knows how to discern the information being presented. A framework is presented, the maximum entropy (ME), to protect disclosure data. Information architecture is implemented to secure the data using the framework of ME. Transformation of data is sent in a log form to distribute different variables and keep actual data safe from exploitation. If data of an organization needs to be disclosed, a protection using ME is used to transform elements for a replication of data. Thus, an organization’s data is protected with this copy using an ME framework. 

    Source code is a part of every computer and open-source software means that the computer is accessible by anyone to look at or change the code. The development of software has influenced history itself through the coding of information architecture. In building this open-source software, many were engaged in using it. Communities flocked and used software for their own benefits, even enhancing. The power of open sources made information visible and with the surveillance of others.  

  4. To:                         Professor Ellis

    From:                   Sandy Fougeres

    Date:                    5/15/23

    Subject:               Weekly Readings


    This week’s readings included an article by Kurt A. Pflughoeft et al. called, Information Architecture for Data Disclosure. In this article, the authors discuss the issue of preserving confidentiality of individuals data online. They express the importance of data confidentiality for public and private agencies and that the data disclosure problem stems from the laws in the U.S where data that is gathered using taxpayer resources have to be made public, which leaves the data vulnerable to hackers. The authors talk about one solution that could help with the data disclosure problem and that is masking the data before it is released to the public. Masking the data involves releasing a sample of the data, including simulated data in the original, excluding certain attributes, perturbing the data with noise, and more.

    I found this article incredibly interesting because I recently did a project in new media class where, in a group, we talked about surveillance capitalism. Surveillance capitalism is personal data being collected and used in advertising markets to get people to participate in hyper-consumerism. Surveillance capitalism relies on personal data because major tech companies would be able to advertise to people in a specific way that will get them to buy a product. This article just brings more awareness to the fact that our data isn’t always safe online but that many people working in public and private agencies are trying to figure out away to protect client data.

  5. The article “ Maturing a Practice” discusses the importance of design research in creating user-centered information architecture. Through Design research web designers are able to develop an understanding of user needs and behaviors. Understanding users’ needs and behaviors helps web designers create effective information architecture. In the article, the authors Hobbs, Fenn and Resmini place emphasis on design research. They argue that design research is a crucial component of information architecture design and it helps in creating user-centered information that meets the users needs. 

    In “Information Architecture for Data Disclosure” authors Pflughoeft, Soofir and Soyer propose an information theoretic architecture for data disclosure. The information theoretic architecture would address challenges of releasing data companies face. To create the architecture, statistical information is required. Statistical information is used to create a maximum entropy (ME) model. The model must be tested,  and is used to generate disclosure data as well as quantify the discrepancy between actual and disclosure data. 

    The article “ The Architecture of Information: Open Source Software and Tactical Poststructuralist Anarchism” discusses the potential of Open Source Software as a political philosophy and its convergence with poststructuralist anarchism. Open Source Software is software that is distributed with  a source code. It is available for public use, modification and distribution. In “ The Architecture of Information: Open Source Software and Tactical poststructuralist Anarchism” author Truscello analyzes  Eric Raymond’s Open Source manifesto and compares it to anarchistic post structuralist statements by Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Lebbeus Woods, and Hakim Bey. Truscello argues that Eric Raymond works proves that  Open Source Software (OSS) is a tactical political philosophy with central architectural metaphors that share theoretical homologies with anarchistic poststructuralist.

  6. To: Prof Ellis

    From: Bria Glenn

    Subject: Week 13 Lecture

    Date: May 15, 2023

    Throughout this class, we have read about what information architecture is, getting different definitions and understanding the idea around such an interesting term. I have often related it heavily to architecture, because it helps me understand how IA is incorporated in technical writing. After reading the articles for this week, we have different topics being discussed with all of them. In “The Architecture of Information” by Michael Truscello, Open Source Software is talked about in the sense of software engineering. It was confusing to read only because a lot of the jargon used in this text were nothing I have seen used or talked about.

    “Information Architecture for Data Disclosure” by Kurt A Pflughoeft et al. was a little easier to digest only because I have some knowledge in this area of data privacy. It Is important for public and private agencies to protect the data of its users because there are many things that can happen with said use of data such as using it for something else, selling it to others etc. In this text, information architecture is mentioned as well because there are mathematical equations being used for the purpose of this project. Using IA is helping the writers to understand that there is an unknown distribution and it needs to be figure out in order to provide the correct information to its readers. In another class, my group created a project regarding data privacy called “The Data Defenders Project” which focuses on informing people on the right to privacy. 

  7. To: Professor Ellis

    From: Tiana Beatty

    Date: 05.15.23

    Subject: Weekly Readings

    There was only one article this week that resonated with me and it was “Information Architecture for Data Disclosure.” The reason why I say this article resonated with me the most was because of two-sided this article goes in-depth. It’s explaining that data disclosure for public and private companies or organizations is a prime concern due to hackers or intruders misusing that information and how to preserve said data and information these companies/organizations are trying to keep for themselves. I know that information architecture and becoming an information architect is a complex business to be in because not only are you worrying about designing and creating, but you are also implementing and inserting information for users to understand when they are visiting that site whether it be for a public or private site. There are more things that I am learning about every day in information architecture when it comes to these readings. There are more levels to the hard work that information architects and the discipline of information architecture comes with.

    When it comes to hacking and trying to protect your data, this is a concept that I have been learning in another class: Writing with New Media. This article reminded me of this class because not only were we were creating artifacts to showcase that we understood the content for that week, we were also learning new things about the internet and social media. I had to put myself in the position of acting or “becoming” an influencer and my job as said influencer is to inform my “followers” about whatever I was trying to inform them about that week. But as we created these artifacts, we also learned about how addicting social media is when it comes to escapism. I knew that social media especially for me is a form of escapism whenever I’m not writing, but I didn’t know how bad it actually was. But because technology and the internet is so vast and everyone relies on it, there’s no telling how far this will go.

    In relation to this article, social media and the internet is always collecting data about our personal information without even realizing. Preserving confidentiality and our data is important because no one wants their name to dragged through the mud as it were, when it comes to personal information being leaked. That’s why it’s important to preserve and protect your information when it comes to the internet and social media.

  8. TO: Professor Jason W. Ellis

    FROM: Ronald C. Hinds

    SUBJECT: Week 14

    DATE: May 16, 2023

    I was happy to read, Michael Truscello’s piece titled “The Architecture of Information: Open Source Software and Tactical Post-structuralist Anarchism”, and to learn about Open Source Software, OSS, as one which can be developed in a collaborative, public manner. This means that the user is ostensibly able to participate online in it’s development. It’s users are treated like co-developers and as such they have access to the source code of the software. Any user can only not inspect the source code they can modify it and enhance it. Open source fosters ingenuity and programmers can improve the software by using their own innovations. Open code, in my opinion, is good for an “open” society but Big Brother surveillance could curtail it’s use and possible expansion. OSS can pose issues of liability because it rarely contains warranty and infringement liability protection. So the consumer is responsible for maintaining compliance with legal obligations.  

    Some examples of OSS include:

    GNU/Linux (I am familiar with the Linux Operating System)

    LibreOffice (I am familiar with LibreOffice)



    Another subject which I found interesting was CyberSpace. I was not very familiar with its definition and so enjoyed reading about it. Cyberspace is not a separate space. Cyberspace is not only a virtual room of it’s own, but an embodied architecture of networks and actors situated in disparate economic spaces:

    • disparate geographical
    • sociological
    • psychological

    In a paper, “Maturing a Practice”, in the Journal of Information Architecture, Jason Hobbs, Terence Fenn, and Andrea Resmini discuss the concept of Practice-Led Research or PLR.

    1. Practices or Tasks Within the Field of Information Architecture, IA

    Big Architect VS           Little Architect

    Shallow Subjects       Deep Subjects

    Navigation     Search

    Labeling Meta Data

    Content Controlled Vocabularies

    Can Practice-Led Research, PLR, improve the information architecture and user experience design.

    2) User Experience Design, (UXD)–Fields Related to Information Architecture, (IA)

    • Information Design
    • Visual Design
    • Interaction design
    • Information Architecture (IA)
    • Usability Design
    • Copy writing
    • Marketing Communication
    • Computer Science

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