Ambient Findability

by Peter Morville

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September 2005:

First Edition.

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ISBN: 0-596-00765-5



For Claire and Claudia

About the Author

Peter Morville is president of Semantic Studios, an information architecture and findability consultancy. For over a decade, he has advised such clients as AT&T, IBM, Microsoft, Harvard Business School, Internet2, Procter & Gamble, Vanguard, and Yahoo!. Peter is best known as a founding father of information architecture, having coauthored the field's best-selling book, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web.

Peter Morville

Peter serves on the faculty at the University of Michigan's School of Information and on the advisory board of the Information Architecture Institute. He delivers keynotes and seminars at international events, and his work has been featured in major publications, including Business Week, The Economist, Fortune, and The Wall Street Journal.

You can contact Peter Morville by email ( You can also find him offline at 42.2° N 83.4° W or online at and


How did you get here? This is not a metaphysical or genealogical inquiry. I'm not interested in your spiritual beliefs, and I'm certainly not barking up your family tree. My question is both practical and relevant. How did you find this book? Perhaps you stumbled across it in a library or bookstore or at the end of a keyword search on ubiquitous computing or wayfinding or experience design or decision making.

What were you looking for? What words did you use? That's what I want to know. Or did this book find you? Is it a gift from a friend or a required textbook in your marketing management class? Is someone making you read it? Perhaps they want you to learn about web design or social software or artificial intelligence or evolutionary psychology.

I ask because the odds of finding this book are vanishingly small. Estimates place the worldwide stock of books between 75 and 175 million titles; plus there are millions of blogs, billions of web pages, countless radio and TV shows, RSS feeds, podcasts, and the beat goes on. Most folks are more likely to win the lottery than find this book.

So, what's this book about? That's a tough one. I could tell you it's about information interaction at the crossroads of mobile computing and the Internet, or claim it opens a window onto the singular cultural revolution of our time. I could invite you to look up its Library of Congress subject headings or its Statistically Improbable Phrases in Amazon. But I won't. Instead, I'll ask you to read it, for aboutness lies in the eye of the beholder.

Who's this book for? Another stumper. I might classify the target audiences as designers, engineers, teachers, anthropologists, and librarians, but that leaves out students, artists, comedians, and business executives. I could declare it's for anyone who's ever been lost or wanted to be found, but that sounds corny. I might say it's for everyone. But I won't. Instead, I'll ask you to read this book, figure out who it's for, and send them a copy.