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Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  2,013 Ratings  ·  229 Reviews Human beings are information omnivores: we are constantly collecting, labeling, and organizing data. But today, the shift from the physical to the digital is mixing, burning, and ripping our lives apart. In the past, everything had its one place--the physical world demanded it--but now everything has its places: multiple categories, multiple shelves. Simply put, ...more
Kindle Edition, 292 pages
Published (first published 2007)
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Stacy Alesi's
People like to ask me about books - I've been asked to name my favorite books, the books I would take to a desert island, and the books that have changed my life. My favorites change from year to year, I would need an entire cruise ship to fill with enough books to sustain me on a desert island, and while books in general have changed my life, I've never had any sort of epiphany while reading, at least not that I can recall. Until now. Reading Everything is Miscellaneous gave me my moment. It wa ...more
Jan 10, 2008 Jenne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: civilians; librarians who have been living under a rock for the last 5 years
Shelves: didnt-finish
As far as I got, anyway, the author has one thing he wants to tell you in this book: faceted classification is awesome, and now that more things are digitized, we can actually use it.

(Faceted classification is where something is categorized in more than one place, e.g. how you can put a book on more than one Goodreads shelf, as opposed to in real life where it can only be in one physical location)

I kept skipping chapters to see if he had anything else to say, but if he did I missed it. He does
Nov 29, 2007 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a librarian, I try to read books about the current evolutionary changes our profession is undergoing. This book had been recommended to me by a library blogger who I frequent daily. The author was also a co-author of "The Cluetrain Manifesto," which I found fluffy and empty, mainly because it dealt with marketing and the "changing paradigms" of business. This book, however, was much better.

Weinberger takes us through the new digital hyperworld of Web 2.0 and online organization, cataloging, r
Sean Howard
Jul 07, 2008 Sean Howard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I love MOST about this book are the AWESOMELY hysterical reviews from librarians or Information Science (IA) folk. People who subsequently find themselves more and more affected by the very forces they find so objectionable in this book.

This book deserves a read and rates almost as highly as the Clue Train manifesto. Here's a few choice quotes:

"The result is a startling change in our culture's belief that truth means accuracy, effectiveness requires adherence to clear lines of command and c
Neil Coulter

I read Everything Is Miscellaneous by the pool at the Madang Resort while on vacation this week. That was the right setting for a book like this. David Weinberger's writing is typical "general readership" fare, full of stories and interesting bits of history. It falls short of really digging into the academic rigor beneath the ideas he discusses, and that makes it good light reading for a holiday. It's interesting to read this book now, 8 years after its initial publication, and to see just how

Jun 15, 2010 Bárbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic
Interesting, but not terrific. I guess because it was published in 2007 -- so what might have been a mind-opener back then, it is now a pretty obvious account of the "digital disorder".

The overall argument is that the new digital disorder (the third order) can bring us a lot of advantages. Very briefly, the first order is the one of the physical objects; the second order is connected to some cataloged/archived information about the object (e.g. a library card catalogue); and finally, the third
Nigel Street
Feb 01, 2016 Nigel Street rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well presented case for the argument that how we have come to classify everything in our daily lives, from books to animals and pictures to music the Aristolean way is up for question. facts are well presented and interspersed with some well made arguments. My main beef is that at times it does come across as everything internet related is cool despite, given the date of being published ~2007, it was still finding it's way and in many regards still is. Like all books there is an element of ...more
Feb 20, 2015 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serious, mls
Third order almost sounds like a plan for world semantic domination. I'm hooked. This skinny book gave me some big ideas about how my introduction to cataloging course will feed into the metadata courses I'll take. Gave me a bird's eye view (with some specific examples) of how the semantic web can be put to use for users. I'm starting to use Delicious, just to play around a little. Really excited about how Ranganathan applies to librarians' work on the web. Really great read for librarians, info ...more
Jun 30, 2014 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book for an LIS class and it was decent. Sometimes I thought it was too theoretical and that the theory was shaky from time to time. Many of the examples Weinberger gives are really interesting and he definitely inspired me to look at some things differently.
Atila Iamarino
Dec 30, 2014 Atila Iamarino rated it liked it
Legal, com boas ideias mas extenso demais para isso. A ideia principal, de que organização digital (ele chama de terceira ordem) é uma outra forma de organizar completamente diferente das outras, com sobreposição de categorias, tags e etc poderia ser bem mais resumida.
Chiara Iaquinta
Un titolo che nasconde un elogio del genio nelle menti di archivisti e catalogatori. Dietro il disordine apparente della contemporaneità frammentata esiste un ordine originario: ripristinarlo è il compito di umanisti e scienziati, sembra dirci Weinberger. Interessante il capitolo su Dewey.
May 20, 2008 Susana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From atoms to bits and how we all can add and retrieve information in the third order.
Dewey, Wikipedia, and much, much more.
Nov 16, 2007 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely ridiculous book, for exactly the opposite reason as The Cult of the Amateur. As a librarian his laissez faire approach to information categorization and storage made me physically ill.
Feb 23, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The central thesis of Everything Is Miscellaneous is one with which I completely agree: digital information environments allow us to organize, access, and interact with information in new and previously undreamt ways. It allows us to transcend the limitations of physical storage and communication media, to free information to be everywhere and anywhere all at the same time.

It allows information to be whatever we need, whenever we need it. There exists more potential now to add more value, not ju
Jan 28, 2013 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Heather by: Professor McKay
David Weinberger author of Everything is Miscellaneous: the power of the New Digital Disorder, introduces his’ readers to a cast of characters that influenced the categorization and organization of material. Weinberger stated that information came in three orders of order and the first order was the placement of a physical thing and the second order was the structuring of an object containing atoms. A card catalog would be an example of the second order. The third order consisted of data being d ...more
Paul Ivanov
Feb 23, 2010 Paul Ivanov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
originally reviewed on my blog:

I just finished reading1 David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous and I find it to be a pretty engaging description of how the state of knowledge evolved with time, and now it has given me a chance to write down some thoughts.

The basic gist of the book is that knowledge is no longer tied to the physical (e.g. books), which used to limit how one went about organizing and finding it (e.g. Dewey decimal system). Now we can attach as much metadata as our hearts d
Dec 14, 2016 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Humans are prone to organize things, at least to a functional extent. A certain degree of organization is required for civilization to function; no secret there. What has happened in recent times, though, is that organization can sometimes be upstaged by what is, essentially, searchable non-organization.

The author points out that physical space, literally the atoms involved, force us into a space-based organizational structure. Makes perfect sense, actually. Why would anybody want anything else
David Sasaki
Both Nicholas Carr's The Big Switch and David Weinberger's Everything is Miscellaneous tackle the same essential question: what happens when the whole world puts all of it's information on the same network? Carr focuses on the trend toward centralized computing to make sense of mass quantities of information as cheaply and efficiently a possible. Weinberger aims his focus at new attempts to organize, categorize, and make sense of the information. I feel that both books also share the same weakne ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I bought this book on a lark at a local book shop. It was on their clearance rack, but the title seemed intriguing. For $3.00 I figured it was worth picking up.

The crux of "Everything is Miscellaneous" is that when organization of things, data, information goes digital the traditional ways of ordering of those things, data, and information become increasingly unnecessary. He comes largely from the perspective of libraries and the storage of books. We are by now used to the ideas of alphabetical
Apr 01, 2016 Holley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
There were things that I did and did not like about this book, and I realize that two stars looks rather harsh, but the rating says "it was okay," and that is exactly what this book was - okay.

This is a book written for a popular audience. As is this case for most of these types of books, it is too novice for the person actually working in the field, and seems to be written for outsiders who have no knowledge of the topic. There is nothing really wrong with this, of course, I just feel that perh
John Cooper
The author is an interesting man: he's a marketing consultant with a Ph.D. in philosophy who works at the Harvard Law School and advised Howard Dean's brief run for president. His book The Cluetrain Manifesto was memorably influential in 2001. He writes engagingly, informally, and clearly. Unfortunately, this book consists of ten chapters all saying the same thing: that we have moved past the age of classifying information in hierarchies and one-to-one relationships, and moved into the world of ...more
Theresa Macphail
If there was such a thing as a new technology positivism, then Weinberger could be painted with the label of "positivist." He is so in favor of all things "miscellaneous" - especially online - that this book almost reads like a tract in boosterism for the companies he uses as examples (a charge he tries to head off in his footnotes by admitting that he does indeed work as a consultant for many of said companies). I thought the book was easy to read and I liked Weinberger's discussion of first, s ...more
Amanda BeReckonedwith
Jul 20, 2009 Amanda BeReckonedwith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amanda by: Jessica
This author makes some excellent arguments for the wisdom of the tags on the internet and the potential they have for re-ordering anything at a stroke of the keys. I really enjoyed his humor and his tales about classifiers such as Dewey (Dui to his pre-professional friends), Ranganathan, Mendeleev and Railsback. Taking organization out of a two-dimensional model on paper(s) and putting into machines with the ability to sift, sort, and amaze at the juxtapositions that come into focus by the large ...more
Dec 09, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
To review this as I experienced it or as I think others would?

This book was published in 2007, the year I finished library school, and presents an overview of classification and metadata issues in a surprisingly entertaining way. It's a good introduction to what librarians actually deal with. (To wit: Not the Dewey Decimal system. Not alphabetizing or stamping anything.) The author introduces different levels of classification. First, the items themselves (say, books on a shelf). Then there's s
Nov 10, 2013 Liam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The digital world ... allows us to transcend the most fundamental rule of ordering the real world: Instead of everything having its place, it's better if things can get assigned multiple places simultaneously." (14)

"[I]n a traditional tree, an object can be on only one branch. At Delicious, tagging a Web address with multiple tags in effect puts it on many branches. Yet despite the lack of a well-organized scheme of categories, Delicious can make a list of twenty thousand Web addresses thorough
Nov 16, 2009 Adrienne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We as a society are still making the transition from a physical, hard copy information world, to a digital information world. Not only does this impact our ability to create and access information, but it impacts the way we organize information, and in ways that are fundamentally different from how we have organized in the past.
This is David Weinberger's theory in the book Everything is Miscellaneous. He does an excellent job of showing the ways that we have internalized the organizing of inform
Adam Marriott
I may have come a little late to the party with this book, it's 2013 and was originally published in 2007. The book starts strong and Weinberger includes many examples to bring depth to his points, making the first few chapters insightful and interesting to read. I then wonder if I lost my way or if Weinberger did. Chapters then seemed to repeat his previous statements, and re-use the same examples again. A couple of chapters were a drawn out, meandering argument where each topic started with a ...more
Sep 17, 2008 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
from the library c2007 there is pressure on this book at the library so I will reask in 18 weeks

from the library computer:

Summary: Philosopher Weinberger shows how the digital revolution is radically changing the way we make sense of our lives. Human beings constantly collect, label, and organize data--but today, the shift from the physical to the digital is mixing, burning, and ripping our lives apart. In the past, everything had its one place--the physical world demanded it--but now everything
Feb 14, 2010 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Celebration of Digital Disorder!
Hurray for Computers!

This was a pretty fun book. At time it felt not-particularly-deep, but I think that may have been mostly toward the beginning, where sure a thing makes sense.

A couple of quotes I pulled out, for whatever reason:

p. 119: The digital world... has never met a piece of information it didn't like - and couldn't put to work.

p. 197-8: Every triple, every playlist, every hyperlink adds value to the mess. None diminishes that value because none actu
Oct 11, 2007 bup rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: software developers
Shelves: 2007
This book wonderfully explains how the internet is organized - and yes, it is organized.

In spite of the attempts of traditional thinking to force a taxonomy on the web (I remember, ca. 1996, seeing a 'map' of the internet at a place I used to work), reality has triumphed, and information is stored the same way it is in our minds - through thousands of relationships that are weak, strong, fuzzy, and flat (not hierarchical).

Where the book falls short is the chapter or two on wikipedia - Weinberger
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