The Information Architects of Encyclopaedia Britannica
The Information Architects maintain a master list of the topics included in the corpus of Encyclopædia Britannica, and create and manage the relationships between them.
Originally the curators of the traditional 2-volume, back-of-the-book Index, the Information Architects have created Britannica’s own highly functional information system IMARS: Information Management and Retrieval System. This system of taxonomies operates on the modern principles of information architecture, including inference, controlled vocabulary, hierarchical classification, semantic and incidental relationships, and more. It is comprised of several databases, one of which is still the Index, a modern-day powerful retrieval tool in the digital publishing world.
In the digital era, as the demand for immediate answers due to the need or the curiosity of the user has grown, Britannica’s response has been, through IMARS, that of analyzing and dissecting its contents into useful nuggets of information. These nuggets can be used as a single answer to a query, but they can also be dynamically arranged in lists, or grouped by different criteria, or simply alphabetized or displayed chronologically for the pleasure of browsing Britannica’s knowledge.
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