I just finished David Weinberger’s great book Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder during a picnic with my wife today. For me, the main “take away” ideas from the book were:
- In a digital world, the same information can be in multiple places, and organized the way users need or want it.
- Rigid tree-structured indexing allows parent/child associations but fails to allow general associations between objects. Example: multiple tags allow users to identify information the way they want to access it.
- When applying tags indicating that an object belongs to a group, it is good to allow a numeric value. Example: Mary is a: manager (0.75), technical guru (0.9), good in meetings (0.25)
- Technologies like Wikipedia will continue to make information and knowledge a commodity without the limits placed on paper documents like the Encyclopaedia Britannica. There are no limits to the number and size of articles in Wikipedia. Wikipedia supports rich links that can identify relationships between articles. As articles in Wikipedia mature and stabalize they transition from being information to representing knowledge.
- The web is messy: anyone can write and link to anything. RDF and the Semantic Web can provide some degree of order while still allowing messy bottom up development while providing opportunities to share schemas and ontologies.
A fun book to read and a good source of ideas.