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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Second Edition by Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld

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Content Mapping and Inventory

During research and strategy, you are focused on the top-down approach of defining an information structure that will accommodate the mission, vision, audiences, and content of the site. As you move into design and production, you complete the bottom-up process of collecting and analyzing the content. A very detailed form of content mapping is where top-down information architecture meets bottom-up.

The process of detailed content mapping involves breaking down or combining existing content into content chunks that are useful for inclusion in your site. A content chunk isn’t necessarily a sentence or a paragraph or a page. Rather, it is the most finely grained portion of content that merits or requires individual treatment.

The content, often drawn from a variety of sources and in a multitude of formats, must be mapped onto the information architecture so that it will be clear what goes where during the production process. Because of differences between formats, you cannot count on a one-to-one mapping of source page to destination page; one page from a print brochure does not necessarily map onto one page on the Web. For this reason, it is important to separate content from container at both the source and the destination. In addition, when combined with XML or a database-driven approach to content management, the separation of content and container facilitates the reuse of content chunks across multiple pages. For example, contact information ...

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