proof IA’s are born not made

if you know Seth, you know he is an IA to the bone. If you don’t know him, […]

if you know Seth, you know he is an IA to the bone. If you don’t know him, reading Boxes and Arrows: Consolidated Assessment would tell you all you need to know

“Card sorting is so simple a 6 year old could do it. Actually, that’s how old I was when I first started card sorting in the late 1970s. Not that I’ve been in the research field that long, card sorting just seemed a natural thing to do with my baseball card collection. On an almost weekly basis, I’d reorganize my cards. Usually I’d lay them out all over the floor and then get to work. Sometimes I’d sort by team (Go Orioles), or by position (all first basemen), or by year, or by card brand…”

Early explorations of faceted classification!


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  1. 1

    My horoscope [thanks alabe] says this about my natural skills:

    “Your first reaction to any situation is to try to organize, classify and analyze everything!”

    It sure helps me in my work. Although I’m not an IA.

  2. 2
    dave p.

    My early bent for exhibit design came out every year when I made a nice display on top of my dresser of everything I had received for Christmas. My IA-ness revealed itself when I created an index of my cherished collection of Cricket magazines.

  3. 3

    Actually, I think that’s a series of enumerative classifications, since the baseball cards can only be in one category at a time.

    Fascinating nonetheless. It’d be interesting to see what other ways that non-information professionals casually organize information into categories. Can we learn from that?

  4. 4

    yes and no– he was certainly creating different classification schemes based on aspects of the cards nature… the question becomes, is it one kind of scheme or another just becuase of what sort of media it will come into? If Seth had been an early prodigy and able to build a relational database to track his cards, would it have been facets?

  5. 5

    Actually, existing in a three-demensional space, a card could be in three categories at one time. Let’s say he grouped them left to right by team, then made piles of the players by position from top to bottom, creating a 28 x 10 grid. Then, each team/player stack could be ordered by card type, or year, or other schema. Now you have each card in three categories. Not to say that Seth did it that way, but he could have…

  6. 11
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