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Jorge Arango's

No. 39

I’ve been working in Shanghai for the past two weeks. Being away from my usual environment and routines messed up my reading and writing schedule; I’m only peripherally aware of stuff that I’d pay more attention to under normal circumstances. During these two weeks, an old schoolmate passed away, a client changed jobs, and the board of The Information Architecture Institute announced its decision to dissolve the organization. I haven't responded properly to any of these things.

The latter is especially poignant to me. I won’t write here about the issues that led to the shuttering of the IAI. For now, I’ll say: it’s a sad moment. The Institute has been an important part of my professional life and a catalyst for the discipline. That said, I feel somewhat detached. Perhaps it’s due to being so far away — physically and mentally. But it’s also because I sense it's time for the profession to move on.

Some endings are final. My friend’s passing marks the end of her story. The memory of her goes on, of course. But as a being, she is no more. You can be philosophical about death, but it’s still sad. Other endings are less definitive; they mark the beginning of a new phase. My client’s time with her former employer has ended, but she’s starting a new job soon. It’s a little sad for the folks who are left behind — but it’s also exciting; there are possibilities ahead for the story to continue in new directions.

I choose to think of the end of the IA Institute as more like the latter than the former. Not a definitive conclusion, but an opportunity to explore a new way of being for the discipline of information architecture — hopefully, one that's better as a result of what has come before.

Also worth your attention...

The Informed Life With Thomas Dose

My guest in the latest episode of The Informed Life podcast is Thomas Dose. Thomas is the Head of Music Services for DR, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. In this role, he works with a music collection that includes 900,000 physical items. Such massive amounts of music require mindful organization, and in this conversation we delved into how such a thing can be structured to make particular pieces of music easier to find.

The Informed Life Episode 18: Thomas Dose on Music Collections

Thanks for reading!

-- Jorge

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P.P.S.: If you haven't done so already, please check out my book, Living in Information: Responsible Design for Digital Places. You can buy it from my publisher, Amazon, and other fine purveyors of the printed word.

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Copyright © 2019 Jorge Arango, All rights reserved.

Jorge Arango
P.O. Box 29002
Oakland, CA 94604

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