Karl Smith has created this timeless post on Information Architecture, which is still relevant today. The below is an excerpt of his article I found relevant to the foundation of IA.
To Each His Own
Different groups of individuals have a very specific context of use when looking for content, the descriptions they use and understand to find it and their underlying purpose in doing so. In this case, they will each require a separate structure around an entity and may require their own version of the taxonomy.
Atomic Unit of Information
Define ‘What is the smallest component of viable (useful) information?’ and use that to model the information system. I have worked with several huge education providers and universities and the questions I ask is ‘What is a course?’;
- A course has a title
- A course has duration, with a start and an end
- A course has a subject
- A course has a level
- A course has prerequisites
- A course has an outcome, which leads to options
- A course has a delivery mechanism
I also ask, ‘Who is a student?’, ‘Who is a tutor?’, ‘What is an outcome?’ even ‘What is a college?’, if a course has a regular location then this creates a second set of entities.
- A location has an address, telephone number, email address
- A location has facilities
- A location has transportation links
- A location has a community
- A location has accommodation
And it goes on and on, this is Information Architecture 101.