AIfIA Launch

I said why don’t we get together
And call ourselves an institute. — Paul Simon

Monday is the official launch date of something I’ve been covertly involved in for over half a year. The Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture.

“Asilomar” means “refuge from the sea” (or maybe “refuge by the sea” — now i’m getting foggy on it) but either way, it comes from the name of the place where some of us stayed this past spring to start getting the organization off the ground. But in a way it’s also about building ways to have respite from the chaos of the sea of information around us. Or perhaps more accurately, ways to channel it, sail on it and navigate by its contours and the way it reflects the stars.

I won’t go on and on about its official purpose and “initiatives” here — plenty of that at the site. For me the most important thing is that the institute means IA is something real, not just a ghostly buzzword hovering between HCI and LIS. I happen to think IA actually much bigger that one slice of a spectrum — my thoughts are somewhat cryptically expressed in the 25 Theses I wrote for the organization, with a lot of inspiration from other members and various sources. There is a key phrase in the 25 Theses and, as it happens, in the Mission page where we take a bold stab at defining IA — “shared information environments.” I took some time last week to unpack that phrase a bit here on Memekitchen.

It’ll be fun to see where all of this leads. In the meantime, if you feel so compelled, sign up to help out on something or become a member. Just check the website — we have cyber-barnraisings going on all over the damn place.

Author: Andrew Hinton

I use information to architect better places for humans. More at