One of these days we really are going to get organized. That's what information architecture is all about: organizing the maelstrom of data in your life into meaningful and reasonable categories so you can get hold of it.
Finding where you put something is a big part of it. Helping visitors to your website find where you've put something is an even bigger part. Everybody runs into an information architecture problem once they've made more than a couple of web pages.
Don't believe us? OK, you say, my website is all about my model railroad layout. How hard can that be?
Pretty darn hard, actually. You've got a collection of photographs that you took while you were building your layout. And unless your layout is 3 feet long, you can't fit it all into one view. So do you organize it by space or by time? Hmmm? And while you're at it, how?
Fortunately some other people have thought about this problem before you, and their answers are (where else?) on the web. The only problem is finding them. And here we've anticipated you a little. But before we get to the links, we want to mention another resource right in your own neighborhood.
Librarians. This is what they do. All day long. And, as you might imagine, they've gotten pretty good at it. Talk with your friendly neighborhood librarian about organizing your website, and you'll be amazed at the ideas you'll get. And while you're there, almost every library has a "Friends of the Library" program where you can donate a few spare bucks where you know it'll do some good.
One vocabulary word and we'll let you go: "ontology". Remember Yahoo? Their overall organizing scheme is called an ontology. Yours will probably be simpler than Yahoo's (e.g., pictures of the kids, everything that isn't pictures of the kids), but it's an ontology nonetheless.