Information architecture

40. The topic –(Information architecture)

Introduction
This assignment gives you an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the fundamental concepts of information organization presented in class. The instructor will assign you a topic and a submission date. You will review the literature, develop an overview of the topic, and write a research report. The assignment is worth 25% of the course grade.
Goals and objectives
The goals are for you to develop an in-depth understanding of one fundamental concept related to information organization and to benefit from the valuable findings, supplementary research, new discoveries and implications presented in the reports. The assignment objectives are for you to improve the ability to:
• Research a specific concept using print and online resources
• Become acquainted with sources of library and information science literature
• Describe the concept and its implications effectively in writing
• Cite bibliographic sources correctly
• Tie your findings directly into class concepts as you discuss them
Report Format
The following file name and internal format conventions are required to help us manage and grade submissions. These instructions assume you understand basic word processing functions.
File name: Each project draft must be a single MS Word (.doc) file. Begin the file name with your last name, using this style: LastnameBriefing.doc (Example: MoenBriefing.doc)
Report format: The Concept Briefing report is strictly formatted with prescribed sections
We recommend that you download and use the Concept Briefing Template (available on the Learn course site) which follows the format guidelines below.
Margins: One-inch margins on all sides and half-inch margin for header.
Type: Body text (narrative) in Arial 10 point or Times Roman 12 point. All body text left-justified only. Headings boldfaced and one or two point sizes larger.
Page 1: Do not create a separate title page (wastes paper). At top of page 1, type four lines (do not insert a header) and right-justify the lines. Use the style below. Complete the information shown in square brackets (remove the brackets).
Full Name
Semester Year
INFO 5200] [section identifier]
Concept Briefing

Title: Center your report title (assigned topic) in a larger point size above the first report heading.
Header: Using the Concept Briefing Template, click View, Header and Footer, and then replace bracketed placeholder labels with your last name and section identifier as shown below (remove the brackets).
This is a true running header that will automatically print on all except page 1: do not type it on each page. If you create a new header, format it in the same font as body text, same point size or smaller, and right-justified. Do not include the square brackets [ ] in your report. Those indicate where to add your own information.
[Lastname] / [section identifier] / p. [#]
Section headings: Section headings should be worded and ordered exactly as shown under Contents below and in the template. Leave a blank line beneath each heading. You are encouraged to add your own subheadings in a smaller point size.
Body text: Type narrative text single-spaced within paragraphs and double-spaced between paragraphs. Do not indent first line of paragraph. Write succinctly; provide only the information requested. Spell-check the draft. Consult Tips for Coursework for guidance on grammar, punctuation, etc.
Length: A briefing should be brief, so the length constraints of this assignment are strict.
• Abstract: maximum 200 Write as first separate page of report. This is not included in the word count for the Body of the report.
• Body of report: minimum of 750 to maximum of 1,000 Includes Introduction through Conclusion sections. The body of the report does NOT include the abstract or reference list. In other words, the abstract and reference list are not included in the 750 word limit. Length of individual sections will vary. Points will be deducted for briefings under 750 or over 1,000 words. Headings and any words embedded in graphics count against this limit. Points will be taken off for not adhering to these limits
• References: no maximum length for bibliographic citations, but be wary of over-citing. List sources actually used in the report. Begin references on separate page. Most Concept Briefings require around 5-8 citations. There is never a need for 10-15 citations. Points will be deducted for excessive citing.
Sources and Citations
Research your assigned concept using appropriate print and online resources. You must use a minimum of three scholarly* sources beyond the assigned readings (textbook and other assigned readings may be cited in addition to these, in moderation ). Do not use any INFO 4200/5200 instructional materials (e.g., online modules and tutorials, PowerPoint lecture notes, chat logs) as sources you cite.
Note: Scholarly means professional, peer-reviewed sources.
Good starting points to identify appropriate sources are the assigned readings and the UNT Libraries’ Subject Guides & Course Guides: Directory
Dr. Schamber’s Tips for Coursework, available in the Canvas course site under FAQ & Help, provides hints for pursuing literature research and guidelines for citing sources.
Base your reference style on the current edition of the APA style manual (see Syllabus). The APA web site http://www.apastyle.org/Links to an external site. provides a few supplemental resources, but does not replace the manual. To avoid losing points, check your references for accuracy and style:
• Use author-date text references in the body of the report and an alphabetical (not numbered) reference list of full citations at the end of the report. Do not use endnotes or footnotes.
• Text references and reference list citations must be complete and accurate.
• Author names and publication dates in text references and reference list must match.
• Each different source cited in the text must match one full citation in the reference list.
• Each full citation in the reference list must match at least one text reference.
• Each full citation in the reference list must be formatted as a hanging indent.

If you are unfamiliar with APA style, allow extra time for composing text references and reference list. A good strategy is to create the full citations as you obtain the sources.
Content
Write a title for the report and center it at the top of page 1. Use the seven section headings worded exactly as shown below and in the template. On page 1, under your name and course information, type the title (name of assigned concept) and center it (see Format instructions). On this first page, you will also put the abstract.
Write clearly, succinctly, and smoothly. Use third-person pronouns and present-tense verbs, even in report objectives and when describing historical / retrospective research. (OK: “… as demonstrated in Dewey’s 1910 study, women have long been viewed as employees of choice for libraries…” Not OK: “… women were the majority of employees in 1910 libraries…”).
Abstract [First page of report. Maximum length 200 words]
The abstract presents the critical findings of your research. It is typically written after the main body of the report is complete to summarize the content of the report. It should describe major findings and make a succinct, understandable case for the results of the research, without repeating the detail of subsequent sections. Summarize key points from your report sections, including:

• Briefing objectives (see Introduction section) and concept definition (see Definition section)
• Summary of purpose and implications (see Purpose section)
• Summary of examples, descriptive, not detailed (see Examples section)
• Closing comment or recommendation
• Never cite another source in an abstract

Introduction [Start on second page. Length Introduction through Conclusion is a minimum of 750 to a maximum of 1,000 words include all text].
Provide a brief one sentence introduction to the concept. Identify three to four objectives for your briefing. The objectives state what the reader learns or understands from the Concept Briefing. Simply put, what does the reader know or is able to do after reading your briefing? For example, the objectives for a Concept Briefing on Boolean concepts might be:
This briefing enables the reader to: (1) identify the significance of Boolean operators in Internet searches, (2) recognize and differentiate between the major types of Boolean operators, and (3) understand how to use a Boolean operator in an Internet search.
Definition
Define the concept briefly. The definition should enable the reader to understand the concept in the context of information organization. The assigned concepts are technical terms used in specific ways in library and information science. Be careful to rely on professional or scholarly resources for definitions rather than on standard dictionaries, such as Merriam-Webster.
Purpose and implications
Expand on the definition above. Explain why this concept is important by discussing its purpose and how it is used in organizing and accessing information. Discuss its implications for organizing and accessing information, such as its advantages and disadvantages, who or what it affects, and any professional issues, concerns, or challenges associated with it. This discussion should enable the reader to understand why the concept (and its use) is relevant and meaningful. Add subheadings (slightly smaller point size) to this section if necessary to help organize and clarify important points.
Examples
Provide three examples to illustrate the concept. You may obtain examples from outside sources (be sure to cite the sources), but it is better to create your own to demonstrate your mastery of the concept. Subheadings can be added to this section for each example. The examples should be sufficiently descriptive and detailed to clearly explain and illustrate the concept.
Conclusion
Provide a brief conclusion summarizing the main points of the briefing. You may add your own opinion, prediction, or recommendation related to any content discussed above.
References [Start on a separate page. No length limitation]
Submission
Topics and due dates are assigned by the instructor. The complete list is posted in the Canvas course site under Assignments à Concept Briefing à topics assigned. Due dates vary to follow the general order of topics for the course. Check the Concept Briefing area in Canvas Discussions for news about the assignment.
Submit your briefing as a single file in MS Word (.doc. docx, etc ) using the Canvas submit button
• Name the file using this style: Enochconceptbriefing
We will log in your submission and time sent, open the file, and review the draft.

We will email you within 24 hours only if:
• The file was not received (we will not confirm receipt).
• The file will not open or is not readable.
• Your name is missing from file name.

IMPORTANT: Check your email the day after you submit your report to see if there are problems. Failure to have a report accepted on initial submission may result in a late review.

Concept Briefing grades will be posted in Canvas when grading is complete. The graded report will be returned through speed grader. Expect a three- to four-week turnaround time for grading.
Grading
The Concept Briefing is a short report that should be tightly and professionally written. This assignment adheres to the grading criteria stated in the Syllabus. To summarize, your grade is based on:

• Quality of writing: overall writing style, succinctness, clarity, use of original thought, insights and critical thinking.
• Quality of research: relevant and credible information and sources, accuracy, use of examples, integration of key research ideas into report (key major points, not extensive quotes).
• Completeness: meeting all requirements, include required content and report format, use of accurate and correctly formatted citations based on an assigned style manual.
• Meeting your assigned deadline.
• Ability to tie research into class concepts.

This report is not a draft: you submit it only once and you only submit one concept briefing report. You are strongly encouraged to copy edit it and check the references before submission. You may also want to ask someone else to check it. Be sure all parts of the assignment are fulfilled. There is no separate checklist for this assignment, but we recommend that you use the general checklist on the last page of Tips for Coursework.

This assignment counts 25% of the course grade. Maximum score is 100.

Grading penalties are (this list is not all inclusive):

• Late submission: half grade (5 points) for each day late; any assignment submitted 7 or more days late will not be reviewed or graded.
• Excessive length: half to whole grade (5-10 points)
• Does not meet minimum length: Whole or more grade points (10-20 points)
• Incomplete, inaccurate, or mismatched references: up to half a grade (5 points)
• Incomplete content, sections, and/or too few references: half to whole grade (5-10 points)
• Over-citation*, excessive use of one source, or excessive use of class text/material: Half to whole grade (5-10 pts)
• Failure to tie work into class concepts: whole grade
• Plagiarism: Automatic failure and associated penalties

______________________________
Introduction
Information architecture (IA) refers to the organization and structure of information within a website, application, or other digital product. The goal of information architecture is to help users efficiently find and understand the information they need. This involves making decisions about how content will be grouped, labeled, and linked together.
Objectives:
Define the key concepts and principles of information architecture
Explain how information architecture impacts the user experience
Provide examples of information architecture structures and techniques
Discuss best practices for creating effective information architectures
Definition
At its core, information architecture is about organizing content in a way that is intuitive and easy to navigate for users (Morville & Rosenfeld, 2006). Some key aspects of information architecture include:
Site maps and navigation systems: These define the overall structure and taxonomy of a site. They determine how users will move between different content areas.
Labeling and titles: Page, section, and content labels should be clear, concise, and descriptive to help users understand what information is contained (Nielsen, 2012).
Grouping and categorization: Related content should be logically grouped together into categories and sections. This helps users find relevant information more quickly.
Search functionality: Search is a core part of any information architecture, allowing users to find content through keywords (Rosenfeld & Morville, 2015).
Purpose and Implications
The purpose of information architecture is to facilitate an intuitive and efficient user experience. A well-designed IA removes barriers that prevent users from accomplishing their goals on a site. Some key implications of effective information architecture include:
Increased usability: When content is logically structured and labeled, users can easily understand how to navigate and find what they need. This leads to a more positive user experience.
Improved conversion rates: Sites with usable information architectures see higher conversion rates as users face less friction in completing tasks like making purchases (Nielsen, 2005).
Enhanced discoverability: Related and complementary content is more discoverable when grouped and linked together intelligently. This can drive additional traffic and engagement.
Accessibility compliance: Following principles like logical structure and clear labeling helps ensure accessibility for users of assistive technologies (Lavie & Trapp, 2018).
Examples
Here are some examples of common information architecture structures:
Topic taxonomy: Organizes content into a hierarchical tree of topics, subtopics, and sub-subtopics. This is useful for sites with in-depth categories like encyclopedias.
Task flows: Groups content by common tasks or goals users may want to accomplish. E-commerce sites often follow a task flow like “Find > Compare > Buy.”
Card sorting: Involves having users or stakeholders physically sort content into logical groups. This participatory process helps validate an IA structure.
Information scents: Associates descriptive labels with content to provide “scents” that guide users’ navigation decisions intuitively (Chi et al., 2001).
Conclusion
Information architecture is a crucial but often overlooked aspect of design. A carefully planned IA ensures users can efficiently accomplish their goals. Continual usability testing and improvement keeps the architecture optimized over time. With consideration of users’ needs and effective implementation of best practices, information architecture can deliver an enhanced experience for all.
References
Chi, E. H., Pirolli, P., Chen, K., & Pitkow, J. (2001). Using information scent to model user information needs and actions and the Web. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 490-497).
Lavie, T., & Trapp, A. (2018). User experience in libraries: Applying ethnography and human-centered design. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.
Morville, P., & Rosenfeld, L. (2006). Information architecture for the World Wide Web. ” O’Reilly Media, Inc.”.
Nielsen, J. (2005). Information foraging: Why Google makes people leave your site faster. Nielsen Norman Group. https://www.nngroup.com/articles/information-foraging/
Nielsen, J. (2012). Usability 101: Introduction to usability. Nielsen Norman Group. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2012/usability-101-introduction-to-usability/
Rosenfeld, L., & Morville, P. (2015). Information architecture: For the Web and beyond. ” O’Reilly Media, Inc.”.

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