Volunteers

Volunteer Spotlight

Andrew Hinton

"I'm a big believer in Information Architecture as a community of practice, and I also believe it's good for such a community to have a "home base," especially if they're a virtual organization spread all over the globe like ours, which is why I got involved with starting the Institute in 2002."

Who: Andrew Hinton

Company: Vanguard

Title: Senior Information Architect

Most recent IA project: Various Vanguard sites.

Working on: Second Life Initiative, Local Groups Initiative

Learn more about me at: www.inkblurt.com

Volunteer Opportunities

The IA Institute is a group of multinational of volunteers who supply the ideas, initiative, and energy it takes to provide services to the IA community. Join that effort by taking on a volunteer role today. Below are general volunteer opportunities. For opportunities specific to current projects,visit our new Volunteer Wiki.

The Institute can provide assistance for volunteer initiatives with expert review, infrastructure, and, in some cases, financial assistance. Please email our Volunteer Coordinator, if you are interested in learning more about any of our projects or have you an idea of how you can help.

NEW Volunteer Projects and Initiatives

Website Infrastructure Team

On-Going Volunteer Projects and Initiatives

Accessibility Producer
Calendar/news editor
Grant Researcher/Writer
Library contributors
List archivist
Local Group Leaders
Mentoring Program Manager
Mentoring Program Coordinator
Mentoring Program Website/Database Developer
Mentoring Resource Manager
Photographers, Amateur and Otherwise
Resource Editors/Content Designers/Graphic Designers
Website Developers
Translations Team Members
New Initiative Leaders

Website Infrastructure Team

The IAI is pri­mar­ily a tech­ni­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion, ded­i­cated to the ad­vance­ment of the prac­tice and tech­nique of in­for­ma­tion ar­chi­tec­ture. It is a dis­trib­uted, global or­ga­ni­za­tion, with no phys­i­cal head­quar­ters. This makes the web­site the head­quar­ters.

We (and every board be­fore us) have been treat­ing the web­site like a sta­tic asset rather than the reifi­ca­tion of on­go­ing ac­tiv­ity. Fur­ther­more, we have been con­ceiv­ing of the web­site as a prod­uct to be con­sumed by mem­bers rather than some­thing they cre­ate. The prover­bial cob­bler's chil­dren are cob­blers them­selves, yet they go with­out shoes not for a lack of tools or tal­ent, but for the yoke that makes it fea­si­ble, ob­vi­ous, re­ward­ing, even easy.

Sys­tems run bet­ter down­hill. This or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture is con­cerned with mak­ing a web­site, and more about keep­ing it going. It is a pro­posal for a per­ma­nent stand­ing com­mit­tee, which de­com­poses into six sub­di­vi­sions.

Tom Sawyer Out­sourc­ing

Even in its best fi­nan­cial straits, the IAI could never af­ford to pay peo­ple any­thing close to what they were worth—or even move the nee­dle. How we per­suade peo­ple to vol­un­teer their time is by of­fer­ing an op­por­tu­nity to try some­thing that they wouldn't get to do in their every­day work, to achieve ends they can demon­strate so they can do it in their every­day work. That, and ar­rang­ing the work in such a way that the next step is ob­vi­ous and can be done in a fash­ion that ap­proaches recre­ation.

In­ter­ested in What is In­ter­est­ing

The (per­haps overly-am­bi­tious) goal is to em­body the process of every as­pect of web de­vel­op­ment into the site it­self, reify­ing the­ory into prac­tice, and prac­tice into open stan­dards and soft­ware. We like­wise credit those who con­tribute, as is the plan to show­case the work of every­body who has con­tributed to the IAI archive over the years.

If you are interested in joining one of our infrastructure teams, please subscribe to our Infrastructure email discussion list.

Aside: We also an­tic­i­pate that a reg­u­larly-pub­lish­ing group, tack­ling hard prob­lems in the fol­low­ing do­mains, will at­tract cor­po­rate at­ten­tion. This may in­deed even­tu­ally com­mute into spon­sor money, and thus some mean­ing­ful com­pen­sa­tion for those in­volved. The promise of fu­ture money, how­ever, is em­phat­i­cally not a sell­ing point for this pro­ject.

Any­way, the teams:

Alpha Team: Process


Ob­jec­tive

Iden­tify user ar­che­types and their con­comi­tant goals, and plot out the nuts and bolts of the in­ter­ac­tions they must per­form to achieve those goals. Then, pre­sent the re­sults in a way which is in­for­ma­tive and con­vinc­ing to the rest of the peo­ple on the pro­ject.

Raw Ma­te­r­ial

Re­search ques­tions and their sub­se­quent find­ings, along with the the­ory of the busi­ness for the IAI.

Prod­uct

Il­lus­tra­tions of dis­crete busi­ness processes, and the solid, ev­i­dence-based rea­son­ing that un­der­pins them.

Anal­o­gous To

An in­ter­ac­tion de­sign team.

Req­ui­site Skills

Gath­er­ing and syn­the­siz­ing de­mo­graphic and ethno­graphic re­search, au­thor­ing per­sonas and sce­nar­ios, il­lus­trat­ing user in­ter­face sketches and sto­ry­boards.

Why Join

We're doing some­thing dif­fer­ent with this work. First, the ar­ti­facts you cre­ate will not be dis­pos­able rhetor­i­cal de­vices, but as­sets that long out­live any par­tic­u­lar soft­ware im­ple­men­ta­tion. Sec­ond, as an or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and the ad­vance­ment of tech­nique, our goal is to demon­strate the damn thing. In this case, it means that for any as­pect of the site, we want to make it pos­si­ble for those in­ter­ested to ex­am­ine the chain of de­ci­sions that brought it into ex­is­tence.

Beta Team: Con­tent


Ob­jec­tive

Cre­ate and cu­rate fresh, clear and use­ful con­tent that in­forms and de­lights, keep­ing in tune with the in­her­ent prop­er­ties of the medium.

Raw Ma­te­r­ial

Same as Alpha Team, plus Alpha Team's prod­uct.

Prod­uct

The cor­pus, as a mixed bag of text and au­dio­vi­sual doc­u­ments, as well as mi­cro­con­tent, like mes­sages and form la­bels, and rel­e­vant meta­data.

Anal­o­gous To

A team that un­der­stands con­tent strat­egy, on­line pub­lish­ing, and new-school ed­i­to­r­ial. And of course, the -ations: trans­la­tion, in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion and lo­cal­iza­tion.

Req­ui­site Skills

In ad­di­tion to the above, some hy­per­text the­ory, or at least an in­ter­est in learn­ing it, will be es­sen­tial.

Why Join

Con­tent is the pur­pose of vis­it­ing a web­site. Or any media ar­ti­fact, for that mat­ter. So for starters, you get to shape that. From a more prac­ti­cal per­spec­tive of pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment, we are look­ing at the generic prob­lem of up­take, and the pe­cu­liar prob­lems of con­tent on the Web. We will not only de­cou­pling con­tent from lay­out, but also from the site's struc­ture, as well as from the con­fines of con­ven­tional doc­u­ments, and recou­pling con­tent as in­ter­sect­ing nar­ra­tive paths.

We will also look in­tently at abridg­ing the crap­work of con­tent, like col­la­tion, tag­ging, trans­lat­ing mi­cro­con­tent, etc. Our goal here, as in the other teams, is the ac­qui­si­tion of more so­phis­ti­cated tools, tech­niques and pat­terns.

Gamma Team: Struc­ture


Ob­jec­tive

En­able peo­ple to un­der­stand what they're look­ing at, find what they're look­ing for, while paving the way for de­light­ful, serendip­i­tous dis­cov­er­ies.

Raw Ma­te­r­ial

Same as Beta Team, plus its prod­uct.

Prod­uct

Co­her­ent anatomies for the el­e­ments of the con­tent cor­pus, and a clearly-marked, con­sis­tent, in­ferrable struc­ture for the whole.

Anal­o­gous To

An amal­gam of new-school in­for­ma­tion ar­chi­tect, clas­sic li­brar­ian, lo­gi­cian, philoso­pher and data sci­en­tist, ap­pro­pri­ately ap­por­tioned into a tight group of peo­ple.

Req­ui­site Skills

In ad­di­tion to the above, at least a fa­mil­iar­ity with dis­crete math­e­mat­ics and the se­man­tic web.

Why Join

We will be look­ing at new ways to com­pose struc­ture, both at the page and at the site level. We will com­pose from the bot­tom up, using con­tent as raw ma­te­r­ial, cre­at­ing se­man­tic re­la­tions be­tween units thereof, and using set and graph the­ory to cre­ate struc­tures that could never be con­ceived through con­scious cat­e­go­riza­tion ex­er­cises. We will then ren­der it all in the lan­guage of the Se­man­tic Web.

Delta Team: Im­ple­men­ta­tion


Ob­jec­tive

Make all of the above work, se­curely, ef­fi­ciently, re­li­ably, trans­par­ently.

Raw Ma­te­r­ial

The prod­ucts of all afore­men­tioned teams.

Prod­uct

A web­site that works, and con­tin­ues to work.

Anal­o­gous To

A dev-ops team.

Req­ui­site Skills

Pro­gram­ming poly­glo­tism, grokking open source and open stan­dards, a deep con­nec­tion to the web, and a healthy dose of in­fosec-ori­ented para­noia.

Why Join

We're going be­yond plat­forms, frame­works and APIs, and ex­plor­ing some of the truly weird and won­der­ful prop­er­ties of the Web. We're look­ing at cre­at­ing in­tel­li­gent het­ero­gene­ity—an ecosys­tem wherein dif­fer­ent sys­tems can in­ter­act to­gether, and can be re­tired and re­placed with­out a com­plete over­haul. We're also going to try to crack the holy grail of fed­er­ated au­then­ti­ca­tion and data porta­bil­ity, to set an ex­am­ple for a more open Web.

Ep­silon Team: Pack­ag­ing


Ob­jec­tive

Carry en­sem­ble the last mile to the myr­iad types of ter­mi­nal.

Raw Ma­te­r­ial

The en­sem­ble.

Prod­uct

The mul­ti­tude of re­fine­ments that make a great ex­pe­ri­ence.

Anal­o­gous To

Type­set­ters, book­binders, il­lus­tra­tors—whose na­tive medium is the web.

Req­ui­site Skills

A vis­ceral un­der­stand­ing of the medium and how it be­haves on var­i­ous dis­play sur­faces. And of course, HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Why Join

Be­cause you're gonna get to let 'er rip. We want to pro­vide you with the best palette to paint with, to re­ally show how the job of tak­ing a site, to all the places it is en­joyed, is done.

Omega Team: Ex­ec­u­tive


Ob­jec­tive

Em­body the con­cep­tual in­tegrity of the pro­ject and mar­shal the peo­ple and the re­sources to re­al­ize it.

Raw Ma­te­r­ial

What­ever is deemed ap­pro­pri­ate.

Prod­uct

What­ever the other teams don't cover.

Anal­o­gous To

The pro­ducer-di­rec­tor pair de­picted in the end of Chap­ter 7 of The Myth­i­cal Man-Month, plus any nec­es­sary sup­port per­son­nel.

Req­ui­site Skills

All of the above, plus man­age­ment acu­men.

How We Op­er­ate

Our job is to shape the en­sem­ble—con­tent, struc­ture, im­ple­men­ta­tion, and over­all user ex­pe­ri­ence. It is to plant the con­cep­tual seeds, en­sure that they grow, and prune where nec­es­sary. Our ini­tial in­volve­ment will be con­sid­er­able, until a di­rec­tion is ce­mented, then we will grad­u­ally defer to the leader of each team. While the ex­ec­u­tive claims resid­ual de­ci­sion-mak­ing/veto power, we want to en­sure that this power is in­deed un­der­stood to be resid­ual, like the pres­i­dent of a par­lia­men­tary re­pub­lic. Each veto is a test of con­fi­dence in this lead­er­ship.

The ex­ec­u­tive op­er­ates as in­ter­face to the rest of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, to fi­nance and mar­ket­ing, as well as cross-cut­ting con­cerns (e.g. SEO).

The core ex­ec­u­tive team con­sists of a pro­ducer, who pro­cures the re­sources, and a di­rec­tor, who shapes the prod­uct. While there are sce­nar­ios that merit ei­ther the pro­ducer or di­rec­tor in charge, only one main­tains the final say. The prin­ci­pal ex­ec­u­tive is elected (my­self), chooses one of these roles (di­rec­tor), and then nom­i­nates the sec­ond (va­cant) to fill the other (pro­ducer). This team stands until the next board elec­tion.

In­tra­mural Feed­back

These teams are or­ga­nized in terms of net flows of in­for­ma­tion and the order in which I need them. But that doesn't mean the in­for­ma­tion flows in one di­rec­tion, just more in one di­rec­tion than other di­rec­tions.

Ac­cu­sa­tions of Wa­ter­fall?

It should be un­der­stood that the basic unit of progress is not the site it­self, or even a sec­tion thereof, but the fa­cil­i­ta­tion of a dis­crete user goal which I have dubbed a com­po­nent. While I en­vi­sion this process hap­pen­ing ini­tially and at the mi­cro-level, it would be a mis­take to run the en­tire process this way. There will be co­pi­ous crosstalk.

The Sand Dol­lar

This image is what hap­pens when you rep­re­sent the total num­ber of pos­si­ble one-way in­for­ma­tion flows be­tween groups of peo­ple. As you can see, it is con­sid­er­ably more com­plex than a wa­ter­fall model, though the con­nec­tions are weighted to rep­re­sent their rel­a­tive vol­ume of in­for­ma­tion. Flows have also been la­beled in terms of their pre­dom­i­nant na­ture.














Teams

In­for­ma­tion Flow

Α Process
Β Con­tent
Γ Struc­ture
Δ Im­ple­men­ta­tion
Ε Pack­ag­ing
Ω Ex­ec­u­tive



Product
Guidance
Re­port­ing
Feed­back


How to read this graphic: Gephi, for some rea­son, does not put ar­row­heads on edges (con­nec­tions) when it ren­ders di­rected graphs with curved edges, which need to be curved in order to see them all. How­ever, you can tell the di­rec­tion be­cause the edges always curl to the right rel­a­tive to the source node. For in­stance, the blue lines around the out­side edge go in the di­rec­tion from A to E.

Not Pic­tured

Steer­ing, fi­nance, mar­ket­ing, brand­ing, SEO, an­a­lyt­ics.

These con­cerns are at right-an­gles to this plan. They ei­ther per­vade it or are itin­er­ant con­cerns, or both.



On-Going Volunteer Projects and Initiatives

Accessibility Producer

We are seeking volunteers to help improve accessibilty for users with disabilities. At the IDEA Conference, A stands for "Accessibility". Our goal is to ensure that all members of our community can experience and learn from podcasts and other audio/video content. We have added an Accessibility team to our Translations Initiative. We currently require a volunteer to research and/or produce video transcription for our IDEA Conference video podcasts. Requirements include an understanding of video accessibility issues for the hearing impaired. Solutions can include either doing the actual transcription yourself or researching organizations that might donate transcription services. Additional volunteers who are interested in accessibility are encouraged to participate in improving the accessibility of our web content. To help, contact our Translation Team Leader.

Calendar/news editor

Posts sponsor and local group events and news items. Please email our Volunteer Coordinator, if you are interested in this opportunity.

Grant Researcher/Writer

If you have experience researching non-profit grants and would like to help the Institute research grant opportunities and approach and work with funding resources to support our infrastructure development and member initiatives, please email our Development Manager.

Library contributors

Curate and post 2-4 entries per week to our library database. Ideally the listings would be curated around a theme to be included in our monthly newsletter. We also need to develop criteria for inclusion. Volunteers would work with board members Shari Thurow and Dan Klyn. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator for details.

List archivist

Catalog important threads on iai-members both as a community resource (classic threads on what is IA, books to read, getting a job) and as resource for management strategy (eg. Maturing a Practice, IA Skills Matrix, etc.). Contact our Volunteer Coordinator for details.

Local Group Leaders

Be a Local Leader — Local Group leaders needed to organize local IAI groups, including local summits, presentations, cocktail hours, etc. This is an ongoing commitment of a few hours a month to organize and attend meetings of your group's choice. Contact our Local Groups Leader for details.

Mentoring Program

  • Mentoring Program Manager: The leader of the mentoring program will manage a volunteer team to administer and develop improvements to the current mentoring system to ensure fruitful and timely communication among participants.
  • Mentoring Program Coordinator: Along with the project manager, you will review new registrations, suggest potential mentor matches and make introductions where necessary. You will provide monthly updates to members on mentor availability and new program features. This position requires some experience with mentoring, since often our protégé applicants need assistance in developing goals and approaching mentor candidates.
  • Mentoring Program Website/Database Developer: You will work with the IA Institute technology team to develop requirements/recommendations for integrating mentoring system functionality into the new member database system (Drupal based) we are investigating to replace our current system.
  • Mentoring Resource Manager: We would like to create a set of downloadable documents that mentors, proteges and group leaders can use as resources and to create local programs. We need an editor and graphic designers to work with the mentoring team to develop these materials.
  • The IA is IN: Our mentoring twitter account, [[http://twitter.com/iaisin|@IAisIN]], is our communication channel for the mentoring program. "IAisIN" is a reference to our Charles Schultz-inspired yellow mentoring booth hosted every year at the IA Summit. We are seeking volunteers to serve as guest mentors on @IAisIN for short periods on a scheduled basis.

Interested? Contact our Mentoring Program.

Photographers, Amateur and Otherwise

The IA Institute is about people meeting people, informally and at planned events. If you have any photos from IA Institute related activities, send them to our Volunteer Coordinator.

Resource Editors/Content Designers/Graphic Designers

We are creating resource packages for new members, mentors/mentees, students, job seekers, volunteers, researchers, press, etc. based on our IA Networking Guide. Each package would be a collection of how tos and important resources for each audience.

If you have a knack for analysing and illustrating user processes and scenarios, email our Volunteer Coordinator. Wolf Nöding's Networking Guide PDF Document is a fantastic illustration of how IA pros meet and interact through the IA Institute. We would love to incorporate similar diagrams outlining how to get or become a mentor, how to create a local group and how to apply for a grant.

Translations Team Members

Join a language team! Teams need assistance with translation, navigation, and moving translated content into the new website framework. If you aren't able to translate the words but have html/css knowledge, you can still make a great contribution to the web development. Many sites are translated and ready to go, we only need a few of your hours to bring them to the public.

If you don't see your language or if your language site seems to be a bit low on content, we'd love to have your help! We have a list of articles waiting to be translated from English to your language. In fact, we would love to find out what is going on in your area and provide details to our members in your language. If you have news, events or articles you would like to submit, we can add them to your language site. We can also add articles translated to English to bring thought leadership to a wider audience. Contact our Translations Team Leader for details.

Website Developers

IAI is looking for volunteers with php skills and/or experience with MovableType to help publish some exciting new language sites, content, and pages. Join the website team and get a chance to help a great global project launch on the web. Email our Volunteer Coordinator for details.

New Initiative Leaders

We are looking for experienced IA practitioners to lead a number of ongoing projects, primarily re-imagining the presentation of our online resources: IA Library and Tools, IA Courses and Degree Program listing, IA Network listings. Some suggestions for future projects have included improvements to the IA Directory map, developing a "Mentoring Marketplace," reviving various IA Industry Surveys, etc.

If there is a topic or tool that you would like to develop for our members, email your suggestion to our Volunteer Coordinator.


If you don't have time to volunteer right now but know of tools and resources that our members may benefit from, please let us know:

  • The IA Library is a repository of information about Articles and Papers, Blogs, Columns and Journals, Books, Organizations, Conferences and Mailing lists, Presentations and Web Sites and Resources. Submit library resources here.
  • IA Tools include document templates, process map posters and other tools to help you in your practice. Submit your tools via email to IA Tools.

This page was last modified on November 22, 2012 09:41 PM.