August 20, 2004

IA and IM

I'm going to respond to Lou Rosenfeld's pondering about "what the difference is between IA and information management." I realize that this sort of discussion has the potential to quickly go tumbling down the rabbit hole. Lou points out this danger, as well. Oh well.

Why respond? Well...

  1. I did name my weblog the "Information Mangaement Weblog."

  2. I have a degree with the phrase "Information Management" in it. So, I feel some interest in making sure others know what this means.

Before attempting to define this thing, I should point out that, while in school, we spend a fair amount of time discussing what IM meant. These tended to be big, wandering discussions. I don't think we ever exactly nailed it down. I have a feeling that it is a big tent, with plenty of room.

Next, I remember that I mentioned the IA-IM question before, also in response to a post by Lou: September 25, 2003. I think that IM can be considered roughly analagous to what Lou describes as "Enterprise IA." But, it might even be a bit broader than that.

Looking at how the University of Washington defines IM, the key concepts seem to be:

  • Incorporates management, computer science, information science, philosophy, law, and design. (Should that be "Design" with a capital "D"?)

  • Focuses on strategic planning, systems design, business leadership, metadata, networking, and information technology.

  • Human-centered.

In the program we spent a good deal of time thinking about the web and IA. But we also discussed CM and KM (even a little DM--document management), as well as more traditional ares of IT (networking, databases, etc).

Do you suppose I could get away with saying "I'd know it when I see it?" Probably not.

In the end, anything that anything to do with, um, managing information could easily fall under the IM tent. And I guess I like a little fuzziness here. No need to be pinned down.