Strategic Information Arrangement Returns to Simmons in May

Temple of Joy

Online CE Course at Simmons College in May, 2011
Instructor:  Katherine Bertolucci
Fee:  $250 (Simmons GSLIS Alumni price $200) for the four week online course.

According to futurist Ray Kurzweil, “the measure of order is the measure of how well the information fits the purpose.”  Strategic Information Arrangement shows you how to fit purpose to your order with an entertaining look at basic information structures and their value as persuasive tools.

Communication persuades.  Arranged information, as communication, provides a persuasive opportunity.  When you understand this, you can use it to your advantage for building taxonomies, classifications, and structured lists.  Lack of understanding may cause accidental persuasion in unintended directions.

We examine 17 list structures and 6 forms of hierarchy, defining how each fits a purpose.  Then we apply the seven persuasive technology strategies (plus 1) identified by Stanford’s B. J. Fogg in his book, Persuasive Technology:  Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do.  For example, the chronology of names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial builds community with six of Fogg’s seven strategies.  Perhaps this explains why it is our most powerful memorial.

Architect Maya Lin was influenced by the WWI Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, in France.  Yet, because of the differences in the two wars, that memorial uses another arrangement to achieve the same goal of building community.  In a different context, the Memorial Temples at Nevada’s Burning Man art festivals (pictured) build community with a random arrangement.  Each of these three memorials fits its purpose by understanding the community it honors.

Katherine’s client Snoopy is on hand during the course to explain some of the concepts.  The Rolling Stones and Joe Walsh from the Eagles also make appearances.  You can explore memorials in your local area for possible inclusion in a Memorial or Veterans Day blog post.  The course includes an optional exercise in building hierarchical structures, to be critiqued by Katherine, the only information strategist focused on persuasive arrangement.

Instructor: Katherine Bertolucci is an information management consultant and owner of Isis Information Services in Phoenix, AZ. She specializes in the development and arrangement of subject-based classifications, taxonomies, and other formats for persuasive information presentation. A pioneer in non-traditional classification, Katherine built her first taxonomy in 1978. Clients include poets and transnational corporations such as Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, Procter & Gamble, and Thomson Financial. Known for her work with Snoopy, Katherine’s programs are entertaining and informative. She is former Chair of SLA’s Library Management Division and Information Futurists Caucus. Katherine’s essays on information arrangement appear in IsisInBlog. Print publications include “The Future Still Awaits Us: Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity on Wall Street” (Searcher, July-August, 2009),”Beyond Findability: Organizing Information in the Age of the Miscellaneous” (Searcher, February, 2009), and “Happiness is Taxonomy: Four Structures for Snoopy” (Information Outlook, March, 2004). Contact her at

Photo Credit: The Temple of Joy at Night, © Jim Hammer and Burning Man. More photos by Jim Hammer at

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Mar 2011

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