As presented at the 2017 Information Architecture Summit
One of the most important breakthroughs in Claude Shannon's work is his insistence that “meaning is irrelevant" to the problems he sought to solve around information storage, transmission and retrieval. We’re all out of the paper versions of this poster celebrating the necessary connection between information science and information architecture we printed up for the 2017 IA Summit, but the PDF is yours for free (in exchange for your contact information in the “check-out” process).
Frequently… messages have meaning; that is they refer to or are correlated according to some system with certain physical or conceptual entities. These semantic aspects of communication are irrelevant to the engineering problem.
- Claude Shannon
The necessity for humans to understand information, and to account for the dynamics within information ecosystems as data is transformed through various representations, abstractions, and arrangements, is seemingly intractable thanks to Shannon.
The meaninglessness of stored data is quite often reiﬁed in the structural design of information and knowledge management systems. In these ways, we can see Shannon's theory as creating the need, which in turn becomes the mother, of the invention of the ﬁeld, of information architecture.
Information architects turn data (back) into information!