In the epistemological shift from postmodernism to pseudo-modernism, technological, economic, social, and cultural elements of change have thoroughly transformed the scenario in which information architecture operated in the late 1990s and have eroded its channel-specific connotation as a website-only, inductive activity, opening the field up to contributions coming from the theory and practice of design and systems thinking, architecture, cognitive science, cultural studies and new media.
The paper argues, through a thorough discussions of causes and effects and selected examples taken from the practice, that contemporary information architecture can be thus framed as a fundamentally multi-disciplinary sense-making cultural construct concerned with the structural integrity of meaning in complex, information-based cross-channel ecosystems.
Three case studies are illustrated in order to support this perspective:
- The Johannesburg Art Gallery – a project in which information architecture works as a social change agent
- The Istituto degli Innocenti (in Florence, Italy) – a cross-channel integration project for a complex cultural institution
- The Personal Travel Manager – a project of sustainable transportation in the Gothenburg region in Western Sweden (a cooperation between a large number of public and private partners).
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