What is Information Access?

AIIM defines Information Access as the findability of information regardless of format, channel, or location.

What is Information Access?

AIIM defines information access as the findability of information regardless of format, channel, or location. This definition based on a growing recognition in the industry that what matters is not how searchable you make your information but how findable, places the greatest emphasis on the success of your information management regimen and your capacity to incorporate an effective user experience into the search process rather than the latest search algorithms.



According to the analyst firm Gartner, who in recent years has been using the term "Information access technology" to include and expand on what they previously called "enterprise search technology", what we once knew as search, is not just search anymore and they use the term information access to include a collection of technologies to help you find information, such as;

  • enterprise search
  • content classification, categorization and clustering
  • fact and entity extraction
  • taxonomy creation and management
  • information presentation (for example visualization)

This is a useful expansion of the problem set, but we should keep in mind that many of the tools around extraction, classification, and categorization remain supplementary to the essential task of organizing information. There are three main ways in which people look for information:

  • Pattern Matching (aka search) - same physical attributes of the sought after information, it contains words or phrases, they exist in certain parts (e.g. title, author), certain words exists close to each other (e.g. clustering), etc.
  • Semantic Web Navigation, or traversal - knowledge of a relevant asset that is linked to other assets, traverse the links looking at related information; sometimes with weighted links.
  • Classified or Categorized, that which is organized by topic browsing. - This is where we use classification taxonomies and related structured organizations of information.

Note that only the first approach relies exclusively on "search." However, the line between search and browse (either by link or by structure) is getting blurrier every day, as clustering and guided navigation enable new ways for enterprises to facilitate useful access to large repositories. At the end of the day, all three approaches rely heavily on metadata. Clearly, to access information properly, first you need to organize it properly.

AIIM has recently introduced the Taxonomy and Metadata training program that covers global best practices for optimizing navigation, information discovery and findability. Courses are available online or classroom, and please visit www.aiim.org/training for course objectives and agenda.


Benchmark your Organization with AIIM Industry Research

AIIM's Market Intelligence group provides neutral and unbiased market research reflecting the wisdom of our 80,000 community of information professionals. Each report will help you match and measure your ROI and implementation issues against your peers. Topics include:

Become a Certified Information Professional (CIP)

The role of the information professional is changing. It's time for information professionals to change the way the business world thinks about enterprise information and IT. Make the Certified Information Professional designation part of your path to career development and continuous learning.
  • Demonstrate your ability to bridge IT and business.
  • Keep your information management skills current and competitive.
  • Lead your organization into the world of social and mobile content.
  • Enhance your value to employers and clients.
  • Become part of the next wave of information management professionals.

Take a Deep Dive with AIIM Training Programs

Over 20,000 students can't be wrong. Designed from global best practices, AIIM training programs are available as classroom or online and cover focused topics such as: All courses lead to AIIM Practitioner and some lead to AIIM Specialist and Master Designations.

Attend Online and In-person Educational Events

AIIM offers a variety of ways for you to learn about industry trends and topics, network with your peers, and find out about available solutions and services.
  • Online webinars allow easy access from wherever you are and whenever you want (live or on-demand).
  • Local seminars travel to 13 cities in North America during the spring and fall. Get out of the office and meet with AIIM staff, your peers, and industry solution providers.
  • The AIIM Conference is THE global gathering place for information professionals. Attendees hear from industry visionaries, learn from peers, network with information professionals, reinforce current relationships and build new ones.