The Architecture of Understanding

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Information about The Architecture of Understanding

Published on February 9, 2013

Author: morville



Peter Morville's talk at World IA Day 2013.

The Architecture of UnderstandingPeter Morville, World IA Day(02013) 1




ArchitectureUnderstanding Miscellaneou s 5




Michael D. CohenMarch 22, 1945 – February 2, 2013 9


“When I was playing baseball, most ofthe time I wasn’t playing full-scale,four bases, nine innings. I was playinga perfectly suitable junior version ofthe game...But when I was studyingthose shards of math and history, Iwasn’t playing a junior version ofanything. It was like batting practicewithout knowing the whole game.Why would anyone want to do that?” 11



The Architecture of a Class 14

The MOOCs must first competewith nonconsumption bymeeting demand outside theschools (e.g., developingcountries, home-schooling) andthen within (e.g., letting studentstake courses not offered by theirdistrict).Later, this self-paced, student-centered model may gainsufficient momentum to becomethe dominant paradigm. 15


Information LiteracyThe ability the find,evaluate, create, organize,and use information frommyriad sources and media. 17


“70 percent of humans experience severe back pain…and in the U.S. this results in tens of thousands of surgeries each year.”“There’s a secret about MRIs and back pain: the most common problems physicians see on MRI and attribute to back pain – herniated, ruptured, and bulging discs – are seen almost as commonly on MRIs of healthy people without back pain.” 19

“If you want to accelerate someone’s death, give him a personal doctor. I don’t mean provide him with a bad doctor: just pay for him to choose his own. Any doctor will do.” 20

Why is Medicine a Mess?• Our minds/bodies are complex.• Patients want a quick fix.• Doctors hate saying: “I don’t know.”• The AMA is an advocacy group.• Relentless and insidious advertising.• Industry-funded research.• $2.7 trillion per year. 21

“Our government is corrupt. Not corrupt in any criminal sense. But corrupt in a perfectly legal sense: special interests bend the levers of power to benefit them at the expense of the rest of us.”“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Henry David Thoreau 22

“It is now my suggestion that many people may not want information, and that they will avoid using a system precisely because it gives them information…If you have information, you must first read it…You must then try to understand it…Understanding the information may show that your work was wrong, or may show that your work was needless…Thus not having and not using information can often lead to less trouble and pain than having and using it.”Calvin Mooers (1959) 23

“Some habits have the powerto start a chain reaction.Success doesn’t depend ongetting every single thingright, but instead relies onidentifying a few keypriorities and fashioningthem into powerful levers.” 24

“Willpower is the single mostimportant keystone habit for individual success.” 25

“We shape our buildings. Thereafter, they shape us.” Winston Churchill (1943) 26


There is one timeless way of building. It is thousands of years old, and the same today as it has always been. The great traditional buildings of the past, the villages and tents and temples in which man feels at home, have always been made by people who were very close to the center of this way. It is not possible to make great buildings, or great towns, beautiful places, places where you feel yourself, places where you feel alive, except by following this way. And, as you will see, this way will lead anyone who looks for it to buildings which are themselves as ancient in their form, as the trees and hills, and as our faces are.The Timeless Way of Building Christopher Alexander 28

“I mean architect as used in thewordsarchitect of foreign policy…as in thecreating of systemic, structural, andorderlyprinciples to make something work.”“The person who creates the structure ormap of information that allows others tofind their personal paths to knowledge.” 29

Where architects useforms and spaces to designenvironments for inhabitation,information architects usenodes and links to createenvironments for understanding.Jorge Arango, Architectures 30

“Cyberspace will requireconstant planning andorganization. Thestructures proliferatingwithin it will requiredesign, and the peoplewho design thesestructures will be calledcyberspace architects.”Michael Benedikt (1991) 31

Ambient Commons isabout attention inarchitecture. It is aboutinformation mediabecoming contextual,tangible, and persistent.The intrinsic structure ofspace—the layout of astudio, for example, or aplaza—becomes part ofany mental engagement. 32



Polar bears are a keystone species in the Arctic ecosystem. 35

The library is an act of inspiration architectureand a keystone of culture. 36

Information architects make connections What We Do that make the invisible visible. 37

IA Therefore I AmPeter Morvillemorville@semanticstudios.comUnderstanding IA (Prezi) 38

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