Previous entry: IA Summit 2006: Day Two

IA Summit 2006: Day Three

by David Sturtz

Having a hot chocolate in a Blenz on Robson St. and trying to hash out my thoughts about today’s sessions before I overstay my welcome or need to head to the airport. Here we go:


Tags, tags tags tags. There, I’m done.

Actually, the day started with an excellent panel, including two of my favorite rockstars: danah boyd and Rashmi Sinha. Scott Golder, Mimi Yin, and Gene Smith rounded out the panel. This one session probably could have lasted a full day.

Scott Golder spoke a bit about how he’s been working at HP to quantify what is going on with tags. He mentioned that tagging for yourself is easy, tagging for others is hard. I neglected to ask him at lunch if he’s considered using stemming to try to determine when users may be tagging for others’ consumption. My theory is that if someone tags something “blog,” “blogs,” and “weblog” it’s not so that he can find it again later, but instead so that others could use all of those variations to find it. Perhaps that can be quantitatively/computationally explored.

He also mentioned a paper titled Dont’ Take My Folders Away [PDF], which I intend to check out.

Mimi Yin also had a lot of interesting things to add from the perspective of a personal information management (PIM) tool she’s working on called Chandler. It has an interesting, faceted structure that seems to make a lot of sense. (Reminds me a bit of some of Raskin’s ideas.)

I can’t even begin to cover all of Rashmi and dana’s points, but if you want some serious blog reading check out both of theirs ( and Apophenia respectively). I promise to get back to them in a later post, especially Rashmi’s talk on sorting.

Later, Jason Toal and Anthony Charles presented their research and prototypes of improved tag clouds. They are attempting to provide more layers of information in the tag cloud format using rollovers and colors. Prompts some interesting ideas.

Wrapping up

Peter Merholz’s closing plenary was a somewhat personal review of where the information architecture has come from and trying to inspire a future direction that are broader than the web. He borrowed several slides from Maya Design, Inc.’s work at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh. There has been a theme throughout the conference of how the work IAs do is applicable to business processes and physical environments. It will be interesting to see where this will lead.

It’s been a blast. I’m exhausted, but have plenty of food for a lot of thinking, and a lot of future posts.

Next entry: Lost, Gaming, and Immersive Information Architectures