I’m a three-time failure at reading the Polar Bear Book.
I’m also a Principal Information Architect with 10 years’ experience.
I’m not telling you not to read the Polar Bear Book. I am telling you that if you want a short, direct, and well-structured book on what Information Architecture is, how to get started practicing it, and real-world examples of prior work, Everyday Information Architecture by Lisa Maria Martin is the book to start with.
I started this book while sitting in a hospital room watching my husband sleep. It’s readable even under extreme stress. The book starts with the LATCH system of organization, which I had learned… but when I’d learned it through the quasi-apprenticeship of a mutual fund company’s design department, it didn’t have a name. So here I was, middle of the afternoon, snoring and beeping filling the room, and ten-year veteran of information architecture, learning things I didn’t know on page 5.
Your milage may vary (YMMV), especially if you’re one of those younger folks for whom information architecture degrees were available. (We had library science but I was too short-sighted to major in it.)
The book is vibrant and well-structured enough that I could put it down for a week at a time if I needed to and pick it up again and keep reading and understand where I’d left off. (Also, YMMV.)
Plus, this book isn’t afraid to use Star Trek, Ravelry, cooking, self-deprecating spreadsheet jokes, and colorful, useful examples.