Thursday 2011-02-03

Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger

You read a book like this and it makes you reluctantly want to make your projects more searchable. Reluctantly, because this additional organization seems like lots of work....

Which means we're probably better off waiting for the currently non-existent sequel, Everything Is Search.

the solution to the overabundance of information is more information.
-- The New Order of Order
Early in the twentieth century, however, Henry Moseley proved that Mendeleev was charting the wrong property. Moseley -- whose young death in World War I led the British to exempt scientists from combat duty -- discovered that there was indeed a property of the elements that let them be lined up in sequential, numeric order.
-- Alphabetization and its Discontents
the organization of knowledge Dewey produced solidified "a worldview and knowledge structure taught on the Amherst College campus between 1870 and 1875"
-- The Geography of Knowledge
He (S. R. Ranganathan) proposed five basic areas of categorization, or facets: personality, matter, evergy, space, and time...
A book on the management of Indian banks up to 1950 would be expressed as "X62:8.44'N5": X for economics (personality), 62 for banks (matter), 8 for management (energy), 44 for India (space), N5 for 1950 (time). In 1933, he published his masterwork describing the system, Colon Classification.
-- Lumps and Splits
Four new strategic principles are emerging, severing the ties between the way we organize physical objects and ideas.
Filter on the way out, not on the way in (be liberal in what you accept as search is always getting smarter)
Put each leaf on as many branches as possible (tag liberally)
Everything is metadata and can be a label
Give up control (and get perspective)
-- The Laws of the Jungle
(the) intertwingularity
-- Smart Leaves
"I'm not all that interested in French philosophy... An article is neutral when people have stopped changing it."
-- Jimmy Wales, Social Knowing
Orderliness is the way things are supposed to be. It is the Eleventh Commandment, the one that caused the other ten to arrange themselves in neat lines on two symmetric halves of the tablet.
-- Messiness is a Virtue
Genius is topical. It therefore has to be proved anew in every domain. We even have a fallacy with a Latin name -- Argumentam ad verecundiam -- to remind us not to think that just because a person is an expert in one field, she's also to be relied upon in other fields.
-- The Work of Knowledge
(and hence we probably have much to learn from other occupations, go BookOfFiveRings ;)
"Because the United States Military Academy provided the best formal training in civil engineering in this country until the 1860s, a number of West Point graduates came to build and manage railroads...
There is little evidence that railroad managers copied military procedures."
-- Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Notes