Morville begins his book by wondering how the reader has come across his book. He goes on to wonder if anyone will find his book. Much of the book is a discussion on techniques of cataloguing information so it can be found again. Instead it is a call for professionalism, consistency and intelligence behind how information is gathered, sorted and marked for retrieval.

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Do users have enough awareness of authority to judge quality? PM: My article on authority provoked a wonderful discussion on web4lib about this very question. My sense is that many adults lack the information literacy skills needed to cope with a mediascape that enables us to select our sources and choose our news. And if so, is this a bad thing? PM: We have always been satisficers. It confers competitive and evolutionary advantage. We satisfice to succeed. And I reject the conventional wisdom that suggests our information diet has been corrupted by the Web.

To the contrary, the Web has radically improved global information access and source diversity and quality. I can understand why an academic with access to vast libraries of books, journals, and licensed databases might sneer at the free Web.

But these crown jewels of the ivory tower are unreachable by most people most of the time, and they always have been. Of course, Google Print and Yahoo! Similarly, in social network analysis , I noted that we use people to find content and content to find people. A blog post can serve as destination content and as descriptive metadata that makes the author more findable. If its findability were greater, would Wikipedia have a viable competitor on its hands?

PM: I think of the Encyclopaedia Britannica as a wonderful educational resource for kids. It explains important topics in a traditional manner that is clear, simple and safe. I did a great deal of research for my book. And I made extensive use of licensed bibliographic and full-text databases. But the Wikipedia was the single most useful source.

Findability is only part of its success. So, in short, the answer is no. Wikipedia has nothing to fear from EB. What did you do to make it more findability-friendly? PM: As I note in the preface, the book is meant to be read in linear style from start to end. In the meantime, I rely on the free Search on Safari see the red box in the lower left for detailed lookup.

Of course, as an author, what I really want for Christmas is to have my book indexed by Google Print and Yahoo! What kind of information do you wish were more findable? PM: A few weeks ago, I visited our local shopping mall for the first and last time this year. So I had to drag my body around the meatspace of the mall, and the whole time I just kept wishing that I could Google the Mall, and go home. I ended up finding the shoes online at Amazon.

What do you do to ensure that you yourself are more findable online? PM: Semantic Studios and findability. And my email address has been public for years, which means I can easily be found by friends and clients and stalkers and spammers. Sometimes, the real trick is becoming unfindable.

Can you explain? HCI approaches are optimal for applications and interfaces where designers exercise great control over form and function. HII Human Information Interaction approaches are optimal for networked, transmedia systems where control is sacrificed for interoperability and findability. At the crossroads of ubiquitous computing and the Internet, users may find and interact with objects through a variety of devices and interfaces.

The context of use is difficult to predict and impossible to control. Wish me luck! PM: Everyware is everywhere but we take this magic for granted. How does it feel to be associated with a lemur? Peter Morville is widely recognized as a founding father of information architecture. Peter is president of Semantic Studios , co-founder of the Information Architecture Institute , and a faculty member at the University of Michigan. He blogs at findability. She plays the role of managing editor for the online journals specifically, and, generally, oversees all online content and tools.

Liz is an adjunct professor at the New School University, where she teaches design history. Prior to BN, she enjoyed being at Razorfish, where she managed the information architecture group for the New York office.

Her personal site can be found at bobulate. Share this:.


Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become

This is due in part to the inherent ambiguity of semantics and structure. We label and categorize things in so many ways that retrieval is difficult at best. The most formidable challenges stem from its cross-functional, interdisciplinary nature. Findability defies classification.


Ambient Findability: Talking with Peter Morville

To purchase books, visit Amazon or your favorite retailer. How can you filter streams of complex information to pull out only what you want? Why does it matter how information is structured when Google seems to magically bring up the right answer to your questions? What does it mean to be "findable" in this day and age?

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