Archive for July, 2007

Readins and findins

I’m now reading Everything is Miscellaneous (site love) (and I’m not the only one). Really, I’ve only just started, but I’m marking up the margins with all kinds of notes. Typically, this means both of the following:

  • I disagree with some fundamental points
  • I loves teh content

Quickie notes to get out: maybe I do have a better appetite for theory reading because this frequently feels too broad brushstroke for me. Though it’s more likely that Weinberger is writing to an audience uninformed on these topics while I am so on board already. And also, so far (as in, in the first 3 chapters) the book looks to be about what it means to be authoritative rather than what digitization means for organization, so now I have another big reason to read what my theory boyfriend Pat Wilson wrote about authority.

Finally, I had a discussion recently that was almost exactly reflected in the book, which I read some three days afterwards. Basically, I said that organizing information has primarily been the work of librarians for a long long time because they’ve been the holders and retrievers of large stores of information moreso than regular people, only now that’s changed a great deal. I said that people in general are becoming accustomed to the idea that they have direct access to a lot of info and that they have some control over it, but that I think it’ll be in the next few years that the principle of finding information as a separate act from storing it will really mature in broader cultural understanding. And the most relevant experience I could think of, one that just about everyone engaging in this overwhelming information landscape can identify with, is storing digital photos. When storage space becomes more affordable people will buy it up (whether local like hard drives or remote like flickr), and they’ll just stuff it with pictures because they can. And so after a few years of storing up, and then trying and failing to find those pictures you really want (because they’re all named some flavor of DC000254.jpg) the idea of finding will make itself known to people who see information access as a matter of storage only. And then I read the book, which uses this example to illustrate a very similar point.

Now that I’ve written this out, I think I’ve heard this idea propositioned to myself and classmates at some point, only the example used was massive email storage. I’m not sure email is going to force the awareness of retrieval (email is pretty…soft? There’s less emotional attachment [ba-dum!] to email missives as to photos, which would create the frustration with finding what you want and hence awareness of the problem), but maybe I still need to give some credit. Someone over here said it.

Somewhat off-topic: I’ve been punning a lot lately, and generally recognizing it right after the fact. I think the intentional pun is so bad it’s good and then maybe bad again, but the unintentional pun just makes you seem not-smart. I wonder if I can get to the more elegant ideal in the art of punning.