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Replaced by Developing and managing an information architecture - Whole of Victorian Government ICT Guideline issued 29 November 2010.
Supporting: Information Architecture/Classification standard (WEB/STD/08)
Release Date: 30 November 2007
This glossary provides definitions of a number of key terms related to information architecture taken from significant web based information architecture glossaries. A reference list of these glossaries is available at the end of this document.
Metadata used in the management and administration of information resources, e.g location, custodian, access and workflow information.
Australian Government Locator Service (AGLS)
The Australian Government Locator Service (AGLS) metadata standard (AS5044) recommends and outlines the use of descriptive metadata elements. These elements are used to describe resources to be presented on the Internet, by Government departments and agencies. AGLS is based on Dublin Core (ANSI/NISO Z39.85-2001), the leading international standard for interoperable online metadata.
An authority file is similar to the synonym ring, with the addition of one type of term relationship. Instead of all of the terms being equal, one term is identified as the preferred term and the others are considered variant terms.
A trail of links showing either (a) how you got there, or (b) where you are in the hierarchy.
A user-centered design method to discover the inherent categories of collections of content.
A complete list of all the content that the information space holds and will hold. Related terms include Content Audit, Content Assessment, Content Plan, Content Silos, Content Strategy, Content Workflow.
The rules (such as policies, procedures, standards), roles (people who perform the management) and resources (e.g., time, money, software) used to author, evaluate, organize, publish, maintain and store content objects for a site.
A Content Map is a document which categorizes the features of a site into meaningful groups based on how the user will think about the features.
The process of users accessing other relevant content objects and tasks that are related to the content object being viewed. These other relevant content objects have not necessarily been grouped with the viewed content object. Contextual browsing is also known as see-also navigation or prospective navigation.
A collection of preferred terms that are used to assist in more precise retrieval of content. Controlled vocabulary terms can be used for populating attribute values during indexing, building labelling systems, and creating style guides and database schema. One type of a controlled vocabulary is a thesaurus.
Within the context of the Website Management Framework a corporate website describes the structure and functions of the relevant Department or Agency ( Examples: www.iird.vic.gov.au, www.doi.vic.gov.au, www.police.vic.gov.au, www.epa.vic.gov.au)
A mapping of semantically similar fields across more than one metadata standard. Crosswalks provide interoperability between dissimilar or syntactically different metadata standards.
A minimal set of metadata elements that creators or cataloguers can assign to information resources, regardless of the form of those resources, which can then be used for network resource discovery, especially on the World Wide Web.
Links which appear on just about every page of a site, and are of a meta-nature, are termed Global Navigation. Examples would include links to copyright notices, privacy policies, the home page, the top level hierarchy, the search tool/link.
The level of detail at which an information object or resource is viewed or described. If you use the AGLS mandatory elements only you may be providing a high-level description of the resource. To improve the granularity of the description consider ways in which you can use qualifiers to improve the description
A technique for finding usability problems with a user interface. A small number of trained evaluators (typically 3 to 5) separately inspect a user interface by applying a set of "heuristics", broad guidelines that are generally relevant. They then combine their results and rank the importance of each problem to prioritize fixing each problem.
The process of users following the primary path through a site to access content objects, where the primary path is a Top Down structure.
HyperText Markup Language, an SGML-derived markup language used to create documents for World Wide Web applications. HTML has evolved to emphasise design and appearance rather than the representation of document structure and data elements.
The art and science of organizing information to help people effectively fulfil their information needs. Information architecture involves investigation, analysis, design and implementation. It is a framework of strategies, principles, guidelines, standards, and models which describe major types of business information and direct the management of information and knowledge assets.
The process of creating an interface for the user to engage with a site or application's functionality and content. Concerned mainly with facilitating users' goals and tasks.
Internet search engine (spider, crawler, robot)
A software program that collects information taken from the content of files available on the internet and places them in a database that internet users can search in a variety of ways. The search results then provide links back to the original location of the files matching the user's search.
The ability for two different systems, particularly computer-based systems, to work together correctly, particularly in the correct interpretation of data semantics.
[Dublin Core terminology] Additional metadata used either to refine the semantics of a Dublin Core metadata element's value, or to provide more information about the encoding scheme used for the value.
The systematic application of terms used to describe content objects. A Controlled Vocabulary can be used to develop appropriate labels. Labelling is performed in conjunction with grouping and is part of the process of organising.
The mental model is intended to reflect users' understanding of the problem domain, often in the form of conceptual objects and the relationships between them.
A formal way of annotating a document or collection of digital data using embedded encoding tags to indicate the structure of the document or datafile and the contents of its data elements. This markup also provides a computer with information about how to process and display marked-up documents.
Literally, "data about data," metadata includes structured data associated with either an information system or an information object for purposes of description, administration, legal requirements, technical functionality, use and usage, and preservation.
A formal identification of equivalent or nearly equivalent metadata elements or groups of metadata elements within different metadata schemas, carried out in order to facilitate semantic interoperability.
An HTML tag that enables metadata to be embedded invisibly on web pages.
Ontologies resemble faceted taxonomies but use richer semantic relationships among terms and attributes, as well as strict rules about how to specify terms and relationships. Because ontologies do more than just control a vocabulary, they are thought of as knowledge representation.
Program or issue specific website
Within the context of the Website Management Framework a program or issue specific website provides information or services on a particular program or issue. Includes campaigns. (Examples: www.tenders.vic.gov.au, www.ourwater.vic.gov.au, www.goforyourlife.vic.gov.au)
Resource Description Framework (RDF)
An application of XML that enables the creation of rich structured Internet resource descriptions (metadata).
The process of searching for specific information objects physically or electronically.
The formal machine-readable description of a metadata element set, or the structure of a document.
A set of rules for encoding information that supports specific communities of users. Also called "scheme."
A diagrammatic expression of the site's structure to the end-user (i.e. the roadmap that appears on the site). It is a representation of the organisation of a website, usually including links to all the pages on the website. Used to help users find and get to pages on the site and help them build a conceptual understanding of the site structure.
A model of one user's interaction(s) with the site. It has similarities with a flowchart but usually includes annotations describing actions and navigational elements.
A synonym ring extends controlled vocabulary term lists by connecting different words that basically are equivalent for the purpose of retrieval. Search systems can be controlled to use or not to use synonym rings.
A taxonomy is the classification of an information domain with the terms arranged in the controlled vocabulary into a hierarchy. It allows related terms to be grouped together and categorized in ways that make it easier to find the correct term to use whether for searching, navigation or to describe an object.
Thematic or portal website
Within the context of the Website Management Framework a thematic or portal website deals with content on a specific topic. Includes channels and single entry points to a range of related websites. (Examples: www.vic.gov.au, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au)
The controlled vocabulary of an indexing language or encoding scheme, eg. Keyword AAA or Thesaurus of Australian Government Subjects (TAGS). In a thesaurus, where multiple words in the vocabulary have similar meanings, one central term is recommended for use to replace many semantic variants of that term.
A set of methods for decomposing people's tasks in order to understand the procedures better and to help provide computer support for those tasks. The basic approach is to define the task and the goal of the task and then to list the steps involved. The level of detail in decomposing the steps is determined by how the analysis is going to be used. A Task Analysis is a discrete step-by-step analysis of how users accomplish their desired tasks.
A user profile is a document which identifies the needs, goals, and values of a target user group.
A Use Scenario is a document which defines a goal-oriented set of interactions between external actors and the solution object under construction. The best interaction designs come from scenarios that tell the user's ideal experience, without constraints, then is modified as the constraints are reintroduced.
A specific form of User Scenarios. It is similar to a task analysis.
Also known as Schematic, PageMap, BluePrint, Page Architecture. Wire frames are rough outlines of page elements and their arrangement within the page.
Extensible Markup Language is a flexible way to create common information formats and share both the format and the data of the world wide web, intranet and elsewhere. It is extensible because unlike HTML the markup symbols are unlimited and self defining. IT is expected that HTML and XML will be used together in many web applications.
AGLS Victoria Metadata Implementation Manual available at: http://www.egov.vic.gov.au/index.php?env=-innews/detail:m453-1-1-8-s-0:n-11-1-0--
Taxonomy Warehouse available at: http://www.taxonomywarehouse.com/
Hagedorn Kate, ‘White Paper: Information Architecture Glossary’ available at
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