I read a copy of The Future of Information Architecture: Conceiving a Better Way to Understand Taxonomy, Network and Intelligence because I couldn’t resist the title, but was left utterly baffled by the book. The author appears to have taught at some US universities, but no biography was provided and the preface declared that due to the “political incorrectness” of his ideas, no institution or establishment had supported him in writing and publishing the book. Nevertheless, he seems to have produced quite a few books over the last few years. The publisher, Chandos Press, apparently printed the book directly from camera ready copy supplied by the author.

He writes in an extremely dense and academic style using phrases like “existential dialectics” and “post-human post-civilization”. I usually pride myself on being able to “translate” philosophy into “normal” English, but could not work out what was going on. The gist seemed to be a description of taxonomies and networks in terms of six “principles” (opposites such as simplicity/complexity, order/chaos) and I had expected some kind of conclusion to draw these principles into a proposition. Instead, he suggested that there were many more principles that could be used.

From the title I had hoped for some predictions about how IA might develop under the influence of social media or cloud computing etc., but there was nothing like that in the book. Instead, there were some statements about post-human evolution and the impossibility of predicting what IA will be like when we cease to be humans and become “free floating consciousnesses”.