Information hammers vs information saws?
The relationship between people and information is interesting, and often complex. People have to deal with not enough information, too much information, bad information, wrong information, etc.
And, the idea of "good information", or the right information at the right time, or being able to find the info you need when you need it, seems to represent an almost universal ideal.
People have devised many systems to organize information, from alphabetical lists to collaborative tagging to relational graphs. These systems have been used in many varieties of mundane and interesting combinations, and have produced many gradations of failure and success at providing good information to people.
Essentially, these systems to organize information are like tools and construction materials, and, through trial and error, theory and practice, we're learning things not unlike: saws are better at cutting wood than hammers, and screws are stronger fasteners than nails, etc.
Computer technology has given us many tools to work with information. And, many recent information systems have been built on web technology in particular. But, whatever the domain, it's vital to understand that no tool "works" by itself: a tool works when it's useful to people for a specific use in a specific environment.
Understanding this, that the specifics matter, is what separates a strategic, information architecture-informed, approach to good information from a merely technology-informed approach. This latter approach finds validation merely in tools that currently "work", rather than in tools that work in the specific environment and for the specific needs of the specific people who use them.
In each sub-field under the umbrella of web and system design (including IA, web development, etc.), there are people whose enthusiasm for tools turns into a dogma about the tools and their magical ability to practically work by themselves. When these tools are computer programs, this enthusiasm tends to give tools an air of "artificial intelligence"—the tool just gives everyone good information with hardly any effort on their part!
But, no matter how magical a saw, it's not so great for the people who need to drive nails. And, it's not like hammers work and saws don't—they're just different tools that do different things.
Working from the strategic, information architecture-informed approach, we aren't tied to one information tool over another. We get to see firsthand (and, otherwise, we study secondhand) all kinds of different tools in different environments, used by different people for different tasks. And, we get to use this approach to find and design the right tools for specific people to get good information (where "good information" is, in itself, often something specific to those specific individuals).
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