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August 2, 2006 / kaigani

Personal Information Architectures

I tend to use Bloglines (RSS reader) recreationally, to get my mind off of work. However, today, when I switched over to the site, I still had my professional hat on and I was surprised by what I saw —

The information architecture I’ve ‘designed’ into my personal folder defies every convention I’d use when designing a list of categories for client — that is to say — for the consumption of the general public.

I have labels that ‘do what they say on the tin’– such as ‘Comix’ or ‘News’. I have other labels that describe a service like ‘del.icio.us’ and ‘technorati’ Finally I have labels, the precise meaning of which can only be known to me. ‘Daily Read’ — describes feeds that I like to read daily. ‘Noisy blogs’ are feeds that quickly fill up with posts, and yet I’m only interesting in 2% of them. And the incredibly opaque ‘In the Queue’ is the label for feeds which I’m not sure I want to keep — they are ‘in the queue’ to be either moved to a permanent folder, or deleted.

And this system works perfectly for me. It fits my ideosyncracies like a well-worn pair of jeans.

This reinforces an idea I had ages ago — that people should be able to develop personal information architectures and layer them upon the taxonomy of the websites they visit.

But I developed this concept before RSS had caught on. Perhaps this will be the natural evolution of feeds.

When feeds and readers become more robust with additional layers of metadata — we’ll all have a custom view of the web — pushed, fed and filtered into a personal information architecture as quirky and delightful as we are.

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