The Catholic University of America
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Information Architecture

Information architects develop and apply classification systems and database schemas, business processes and workflows to manage complex data sets and information resources. Their work often involves researching, acquiring, and integrating diverse datasets. They design and evaluate information environments that are as varied as shopping sites, web portals, databases, search engines and directories, online financial services, social media sites, online communities, and mobile applications.

An information architect's responsibilities can include:

  • Collaborating with management, clients, end users, programmers, and other IT personnel to balance the needs of the sponsoring organization and the needs of its audiences.
  • Establishing observable and measurable goals or objectives.
  • Determining what content the resource will contain and functionality it will support.
  • Specifying how users will find information in the resource by defining its organization, navigation, labeling, and searching systems.
  • Evaluating the design and usability of information resources and environments as well as user experience.
  • Researching and applying relevant standards.
  • Defining strategies for how the resource will accommodate change and growth over time.
  • Documenting information designs using site maps, wireframes, blueprints, controlled vocabularies, metadata schema, and other techniques.

Adapted from Dillon & Turnbull (2009), Latham (2002), and Rosenfeld, Morville, & Arango (2015).

 

Information architecture (IA) draws on many fields, including library science, computer science, social informatics, information design, visual design, and engineering psychology (Rosenfeld, Morville, & Arango, 2015). The IA course of study reflects this diversity. The CUA Department of Library and Information Science offers a variety of courses that focus on information architecture. Each student will take the four required core courses, plus highly-recommended specialized courses for IA. The student will consult with his/her advisor to plan a course of study that will best meet the student's personal and professional needs.

Required Core Courses (4 courses; 12 credits)

  • 551: Organization of Information
  • 553: Information Sources & Services
  • 555: Information Systems in Libraries and Information Centers
  • 557: The Information Professions in Society

Highly Recommended Courses (4-5 courses; 12-15 credits)

  • 525: User Interface and Evaluation
  • 610: Information Architecture and Web Design
  • 616: Indexing, Abstracting, and Thesaurus Construction
  • 654: Database Management
  • 675: Research Methods in Library and Information Science
  • 756: Systems Analysis and Evaluation

Other Electives (3-4 courses; 9-12 credits)

  • 615: Metadata
  • 635: Human Information Behavior
  • 652: Foundations of Digital Libraries
  • 695: Practicum
  • 752: Design and Production of Multimedia
  • 753: Programming for Web Applications

Information Architecture course of study checklist (.docx) (.pdf)

Information Architecture Informational Flyer (.pdf)

 

Relevant Journals or Online Resources

Related Organizations

Relationship of the Information Architecture Course of Study to LIS Competencies

Professional Competencies for Graduates of the Masters in Library Science Degree Program (PDF)

The table below shows how courses in the Information Architecture Course of Study are aligned to LIS competency areas. Using this table, it is recommended that in addition to highly recommended courses, you could choose elective courses as appropriate.

  Information Organization Resources/Services Information Technology Professional Identity/Management Others
Required Courses 551 553 555 557  
Recommended Courses 610
616
  654
756
  675
Electives 615 635 652
753
752
  906

References

Dillon, A. & Turnbull, D. (2009). Information Architecture. In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, 3rd Ed. Taylor and Francis: New York, 2361-2368.

Latham, D. (2002). Information Architecture: Notes Toward a New Curriculum. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53(10), 824-830.

Rosenfeld, L., Morville, P., & Arango, J. (2015). Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond. 4th Ed. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media.

 

Course description and numbers updated June 2016.
Page updated May 2017

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