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Sample 1 Demonstrating Information and Its Organization

Faceted Taxonomy

Description: As part of the class “Information Organization & Retrieval” I created a web taxonomy. The assignment called for a finding aid a little like the Yahoo.com of the 1990’s. I consider my taxonomy to be a shining example of my information organization skills because my exploration and output exceeded the limits of the original assignment, applying Ranganathan’s principles as well as user experience design practices to reimagine the application of an information professional’s ability to organize web resources in the era of Google, RSS, and RDA. I selected a CSS template and hand-coded a web page to display my 3-tiered, 3-faceted classification system with two additional points of access (search and alphabetical).

Report describing my research methods, construction process, & reflections (PDF)

Analysis: Merely organizing topics into a heirarchy was sufficient to fulfill the assignment requirements and that is what the screenshot shows. But as you can see from reading my report, I dreamed much bigger. What I envisioned was a user-centric discovery tool that blurred the boundaries of finding, selecting and accessing web resources, assuming a domain of well-described and well-structured content that could be “pulled” and displayed in teaser form alongside the finding aids to better facilitate exploratory browsing and query refinement. Drawing from the discipline of information architecture, I discovered some special considerations in creating an interactive interface (i.e. “bounded horizons” and “information scent” in a multi-page tool with a dropdown menu) and modified my information hierarchy to account for them. I believe the largest flaw in this project is lack of user testing.

Reflection: This project threw me head-first into the tension between traditional Western library science concepts of organization (in which everything "lives" in only one "place"), Raganathan’s principles of faceted classification (in which the same thing can be described along multiple non-conflicting continuums), and the rapidly evolving realities and disciplines of working with the contemporary World Wide Web (in which where something "lives" is irrelevant; access is everything). It helped me solidify my professional perspective of drawing from a rich library science heritage while considering my main knowledge domain, skills and interests to lie in the newer fields of information architecture and user experience design.