December 20, 2001
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Lou Rosenfeld has lots of intriguing ideas about Information Architecture Components -- elements "that get users to content". His newly revised taxonomy includes Browsing Aids, Search Components, Content and Tasks, and "Invisible" (infrastructural) components.

The problem here, as in the Rosenfeld's earlier book, is that the architectural elements are chiefly limited to signage -- labelling systems that identify where you are and tools for instrumental navigation. Architecture isn't about applying labels to spaces, it's about building spaces that label themselves. Louis Sullivan (for follows function) is the classic source, and he famously insisted that the windows of large buildings should indentify what happens inside them, rather than following some arbitrary Palladian scheme.

Trying to separate content from navigation is usually destructive of both. The most important content a hypertext offers is often its self-image, its mental map, the promise it offers the reader. What can I learn here? What can I buy here? Am I welcome? (Who are you? What do you want?)

Even more interesting in Rosenfeld's recent writing is a speculative combination of links and search. Morville's ideas are close to the essence of what Microcosm called Generic Links, although the actual flavor feels like HyperTIES (and, de facto, a little like Ward Cunningham's WIKI). I suspect the oldest implementation was Rosemary Simpson's Gateway, for the LMI Lambda.