Inspiration architecture: the future of libraries #internetlibrarian #il2015 @morville

Peter Morville, Internet architecture pioneer


Told Library of Congress their web site was like the Winchester Mystery House. We need to grapple with culture and governance to make sustainable change.

Created portal and discovery tool for Harvard’s 75 libraries. Faceted results to filter results on the left. Helps people understand what they’ve found. But it’s not enough.

At the beginning, more features add more goodness, but at some point, it just gets more complex (and less good).

Agile is good, but planning is important too.

Planning, building, thinking, doing all part of the process.

We need to look outside our models to see external forces.

Categories can be dangerous but not bad. Cornerstone of cognition and culture. Don’t have to be a bounded set, but could be a fuzzy set or a centered set.

We use radio buttons when checkboxes or sliders would reveal the truth.

Info architects create paths to places, connections between categories, links between cause and effect.

Practice ethnography not just with users, but also stakeholders.

Learn about organization’s history.

People may change actions, but are reluctant to change beliefs.

Have we passed an inflection point? Are we making better decisions with more information?

We are living past our limits and beginning to feel the consequences.

River daylighting. (Yay, a water metaphor.) Making the invisible visible.

Redesigning Harvard business library’s 12-year-old web site. Did ethnographic study of research habits.

MBA student couldn’t do many tasks. She’s used the ref desk, but it’s hard because it’s a quiet room and she feels she’s distracting other users.

Homework: pick a context, map the system, then map the system outside the system. Then share it with someone.

Info architects use nodes and links to create environments for understanding.

Library is an act of inspiration architecture and a keystone of culture.