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Information Architecture Overview

Wise information architecture is the backbone of every excellent content-rich Web site. Lack of expertise in information architecture is the reason that nearly every site of any depth on the Internet is difficult to use.

In order to create an incredible, effective Web site, we are going to pair Mere’s usability principles with the principles of information architecture.


Our taxonomy scheme (classification and labeling of the site) are as follows. These will be implemented into the site according to our wireframes, which are derived from these taxonomies.

The core taxonomies of a ministry-focused resource library are: resource types, topics, and tags. Here’s what we mean:

Resource Types

In our IA schema: the term “resource type” refers to a specific type of category, to keep it distinct from “Topic”, which is still a category. A “Resource Type” should be thought of as a the genre of the resource. A resource category is always a noun, always a specific “thing”.

It should be able to be referred to in the singular and in the plural. Please also note that these categories never refer to a media type (audio, video, etc), but always to a genre. Media type is a separate type of taxonomy, and transcends the resource category.

Examples of ministry-related resource types:

  • Sermons
  • Blog Entries
  • Stories
  • Podcasts
  • Articles
  • Studies
  • Books
  • Curriculum
  • Conference Messages


Another classification (type of category) for your resources are the “topics”. A topic should be thought of as the main theme of the resource. See the list below. Topics are concepts, rather than genres. Importantly, each resource should only ever have one primary topic. This distinction is somewhat arbitrary, but important for find-ability.

Note: There are potential exceptions to this rule, that need to be considered carefully. Interviews such as panel discussions, radio interviews, and podcasts often cover multiple topics. In this case it is appropriate to assign multiple topics, one for each segment of the interview, panel, broadcast, or podcast. In this case the principle would be to use as few topics as possible.

Related topics may also be assigned to help the “related resources” engine, and also as a clue for your readers.

Mere has a recommended topic index for churches and ministries. It is based on the classic categories of systematic theology, expanded slightly by popular theology topics, and categories from the Christian book industry.


The most generic and flexible of taxonomies. With tags you are creating a full index of terms used in your resource library. Tags should differ from all other taxonomies used, and should never repeat another. Additionally, avoid “keyword loading” by saying the same thing in different ways for each resource. Generally speaking, whereas topics are general themes and concepts, tags are proper nouns: names, places, brands, etc. Tags are what this resource uniquely contains, while topics are how the resource fits into the overall library.

Other Taxonomies

  • Series - Sermon series, etc.
  • Date - Date resource was created, first published, or delivered
  • Author (or Speaker) - Who created or preached the resource, including all panelists and interviewees (everyone who is “speaking” in a resource)
  • Occasion - Easter, Christmas, Funeral, Wedding, Racial Reconciliation Sunday, any “occasion” for a sermon or other resource that would be commonly expected and looked for.
  • Campus - Which campus the resource was delivered or created on
  • Conference - gives you the “Conference message by conference” index.
    • Conference Names (for Organization-Hosted Conferences)
    • Outside Conferences
      • Sub-taxonomy for specific conference name