I have a degree in Information Science - but its been a few years so I was looking for an overview of the field to refresh my memory, and also to get up to date on any advances in the field of information classification, methods for subject matter breakdown, application of taxonomy, etc ...
So, overall I'm rating this four stars as a good overview of Information Architecture. They manage to cover a vast and advanced field in a reasonably sized space. They do it pretty well, considering. I don't regret the purchase and I do recommend it for the beginning / intermediate user.
I can't help but see the irony in the presentation. ie ... in covering the subject matter that concerns itself with the science and methods behind classifying information simply and clearly for human consumption?:
The book is all over the map.
Headers for key subjects are not always clear, simple, and consistent at all. Key concepts that are essential to understanding a core subject - are at times buried in colloquial verbiage that serves more to make the subject more confusing that it should. At times I expected the authors to throw in little smiley faces and cute picture of puppy dogs and flowers to make the subject less intimidating and more appealing.
Not necessary - simplicity and clarity are the hallmarks of good IA, and in trying to make the book 'feel' more friendly, they break the rules inherent in what they are trying to teach you to do - and what not to do. In doing so they make it more difficult to learn, and harder to find what you are looking for ... which is exactly what they are trying to teach you not to do!
Like I said: 'Blueprints' is so ironic that it inspired me to take the time to write and post this review. In addition:
The authors are associated with an IA site called 'Boxes and Arrows'. I took a look at the site and my first impression was that it was way more difficult to navigate and understand the hierarchy than it should be: especially for an IA and content management career site.
Then - at one point in the book - they address this. They discuss a redesign of the site that will make it easier for users to find what they are looking for, and get involved with the site.
But the work was never done on the site! It's an IA site, about the field of making information clear and findable, that is not clear and the information is not findable. And they discuss this in the book that they wrote about learning good IA. Then ... they never implemented the fixes they discuss as an illustration in their own book!
Huh?? I am laughing right now because I find irony very funny :) Especially when its so cool and circular like this is. They do seem like nice people and I did get a lot out of the book however. With a bit of tweaking a new edition of the book could be a whole lot more effective (and fix the damn site!!)