I was introduced to Richard Saul Wurman (RSW) through his Access guidebook series, the first of which appeared in 1980.
He, to me, is the quintessential information architect—defined on the cover of his book Information Architects as:
1. The individual who organizes the patterns inherent in data, making the complex clear.
2. A person who creates the structure or map of information that allows others to find their personal paths to knowledge.
3. The emerging 21st century professional occupation addressing the needs of the age focused upon clarity, human understanding, and the science of the organization of information.”
Of the Access series he simply says, “I couldn’t find a good guidebook so I did one,” and characterizes it as “A roadmap from not knowing to knowing.”
That’s what he seems to be about, he has lived a life of learning about what interests him (and searching out what might interest him). That might explain why he is probably better know as the founder of TED Conference. I would estimate, through TED, that he has influenced the world’s thinking in immeasurable ways.
Here are a few pages from many of the Access Guidebooks…
Mr. Wurman refers to himself as “abrasively charming.” Debbie Millman found that out here…
The TED Conferences are legendary. The quality of the ideas it presents year after year has attracted an impressive assemblage of speakers and attendees…