Information Architecture

Our Information Architecture provision is categorised into four distinct areas:

  1. Architecture: designing the customer data and information framework model
  2. Construction: building the infrastructure (people and tools) to enable data and information : physical and programmed  frameworks
  3. Maintenance: creating and updating data and information
  4. Deployment: making use of data and information

1. Architecture

The four stages involved in creating the Information framework / architecture:

  • context setting
  • information audit
  • Information & data design
  • Programme strategy.

Context setting

To understand the requirements of context of the client’s information architecture, it is necessary to understand the goals, business drivers and resources of the client, together with any other factors which will influence the success or failure of the project.

Typical areas to consider are:

  • stated strategies and policies
  • communities of interest
  • stakeholders
  • resources: budget, staffing, equipment, etc
  • Users.

Information audit

The next stage is to look at the content itself and its environment. Typical questions are:

  • what are the different types of content (reports, emails, spreadsheets, etc), and how much of each type is there?
  • what are the important levels of granularity for each type of content?
  • how is the current content held?
  • what is the authoring process?
  • is there any digital Information models  related  to the content services  at all, and if so, who creates it devises it ?
  • are there any Information guidelines or schemas?
  • are any controlled vocabularies, taxonomies  or other editorial disciplines used?
  • are there links between and within individual pieces of content?
  • what controls are required for pieces of content? (e.g. version control, access control).

Once the scope of the information framework  is understood, consideration should be given to whether there are any standards or recommended taxonomies , schemas and vocabularies that would be appropriate to it, which may save time in developing the Information framework and also contribute to information interoperability.

During this stage it is also very important to look at how users currently search and navigate the content, and to find out how they would like to search and navigate. This may require a separate research exercise.

Information Design

Once the information and publishing context has been understood, the requirements are clear, and the current content and processes have been scoped out, it is possible to begin to design the plan for Information & data framework.  As mentioned above, if there are existing standards, schemas or vocabularies which are relevant to the content, these will be taken into consideration.

The Information & data framework will contain recommendations for the following:

  • Information schema(s): what are the elements and refinements required? Can one schema cover all requirements? Is there a core set of elements which is common to all content types?
  • controlled vocabularies
  • taxonomies
  • editorial disciplines and best practice
  • information identifier strategies
  • id encoding schemes
  • levels of information granularity
  • information storage and distribution
  • delivery presentation
  • discovery & search strategies.

Programme strategy

Once the Information framework has been agreed, it will be necessary to draw up a programme strategy to map out every aspect of preparing the organisation and individuals for its introduction and implementation. The programme strategy will include the following topics:

  • set-up of organisational structures to support the implementation and use of Information
  • Information migration strategy, including recommendations for data capture, transformations and mappings
  • process mapping
  • project plan:
    • timetable
    • required resources (internal/external)
    • people
    • hardware
    • software
      • acquisition (or identification), training and management of relevant staff
      • reporting methodology (quantitative and qualitative)
      • dependencies
      • risk assessment
      • costs for implementation

2.         Construction

The construction phase of the Information Service covers all the activities, tools and resources required to carry out the client’s preferred solution. This work may be commissioned following on from the architecture piece, or the client may have already determined requirements and brought in by RWCS  for the construction phase only.

The resources, tools and processes in this phase may be used by clients to create their own

The suite of services within the construction phase consists of the following:

  • Actual configuration of  Information repositories, for the storage and maintenance of  customer data.
  • Actual development of vocabularies, including controlled lists, thesauri, taxonomies.
  • Actual development or licensing and integration of specific data Manifold tools such as taggers, templates, automatic classification software, and automatic summarisation software to facilitate Information creation
  • Actual development and integration of linking tools to create and manage relationships between and within content
  • employment and training of staff to manage and carry out Information creation and maintenance
  • migration of existing Information to the new framework
  • mapping of existing schemas, Information or vocabularies to integrate with the new framework
  • development, reconfiguration or licensing, and integration of search software
  • set-up and documentation of processes
  • testing of systems, data and processes
  • project management
  • project reviews with the client.

 3.         Maintenance

Maintenance covers the actual creation and updating of Information & Data Manifold, either by the client or by RWCS on behalf of the client.

Where the client is indirectly  serving data hosting : RWCS services may include:

  • hosting the repository
  • provision of id s and data services
  • updating  taxonomies
  • advising on best practice
  • extending information framework to accommodate new material or activities.

Where RWCS is creating the information framework, the services may additionally include:

  • creation and updating of information framework
  • linking of related information framework
  • regular reporting on outputs information framework
  • monitoring of costs..

4.         Deployment

RWCS also offers services around the deployment of information frameworks, i.e. the facilities required by users may be staff deploying the information framework to help them manage the collection, or anyone wishing to search the collection.

Users are expected to be carrying out one or more of the following activities:

  • resource discovery (searching on any element or part thereof; browsing)
  • workflow management (e.g. version control)
  • records management (e.g. identifying documents for disposal)
  • rights management
  • relationship management

5.         Other RWCS services also include:

    • provision of tools for searching and browsing
    • provision of filtering tools
    • provision of workflow tools
    • provision of navigation tools
    • reviewing and recommending improvements to the client’s information services based on the new framework.