August 06, 2002

How's your Information Architecture's health? Open up and say aah!
An article in Searcher magazine called Beyond the Information Audit: Checking the Health of an Organization's Information System discusses an approach needs assessment or "current state" research. The examples are from the perspective of a librarian, but the concepts are pretty universal. This is not the same as a content audit/inventory.

"Information audit, needs assessment, knowledge inventory — all are names for a process that examines the secret life of information within an organization...The problem with all the names for the process is that they're too narrow. Audit implies an analysis of what's been reported; a needs assessment looks at only the first half of information's organizational life; and inventory assumes all needs are met. What we'll talk about here is an information checkup. Compare it to an annual physical...Getting the results of an information checkup is a lot like that part of the physical where you get your clothes back on and go sit in the doctor's office."

More resources:
The Information Audit as a First Step Towards Effective Knowledge Management (PDF)"For many years the information audit process has been promoted by information
professionals as a means of identifying the information needs of an organisation
and matching them against existing services and resources. In more recent years it
has been used extensively, mainly by consultants, as the first step in the
development of a knowledge management strategy."

Boxes and Arrows: Defining Information Architecture Deliverables
Pre - Boxes & Arrows...
"[A content inventory] is exactly what you might guess: a complete list of all the content that the site holds and will hold. For sites particularly rich in content, it may be a list of types of content."

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