Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder
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Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,398 ratings  ·  207 reviews
Amazon.com 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 January 1st 2007)
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Ascexis
Mostly I learned that Weinberger hasn't been paying attention.

Clay Shirky's article in 2005 on ontologies said it earlier, more succintly, and with less self-aggrandizement. Any man (and yes, I mean Weinberger) who gets halfway through a book that he starts by deriding librarians and then tries to reinvent Ranganathan while hoping that if he shoves in a couple of nifty anecdotes about the man librarians won't notice he's having to backtrack rapidly has missed the point, the boat, and the cluebus...more
Stacy Alesi's BookBitch.com
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
Jenne
Jan 15, 2008 Jenne rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Sean Howard
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...more
Dan
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...more
Jason Carney
I loved this book. It changed the way I use a lot of software, particularly cloud-based software. The central idea is that past systems of organizing knowledge are constricted by space and matter. Objects to be cataloged can only occupy so much space, on the shelf, in the museum, in the garden, and so they can, at the end of the day, only be determined to be one thing, to have one essence. However, when knowledge systems are disentangled from their material bodies (when we start digital tagging...more
John
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...more
Sarah
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.
Susana
From atoms to bits and how we all can add and retrieve information in the third order.
Dewey, Wikipedia, del.icio.us and much, much more.
Emily
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...more
Amanda BeReckonedwith
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
Heather
Jan 30, 2013 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Phil Newman
I really enjoyed the book. As someone who tags everything and is really focused on keeping my iPhoto library organized the concepts presented really appealed to me. I'd jumped into tagging and never considered the fact that it does hide other information. Yet another example of extremes - somewhere in the middle is a happy medium.

A couple of things that stuck with me:
- Wikis reduce emails by about 75%; I want to test this theory in real life!
- The discussion of org charts was interesting. Corpo...more
Bárbara
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...more
Paul Ivanov
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...more
Vicky
This book was dedicated to librarians; today many of them employed by the variety of industries as the "Knowledge specialists". This book explains why this change in title is happening .The book is about our relation with information and how we access and categorise knowledge differently in the digital era. It is about a move from order to miscellaneous, from Dewey system to numerous databases, social networks and on-line encyclopedias. It is about chaos that creates an amazing surge in knowledg...more
Elizabeth
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...more
Steven
The internet has prompted a revolution in information science. This book is about the emerging methods of finding information. These methods are applied to locating music (iTunes), books (Amazon and WorldCat), real estate (Zillow and PropSmart), photographs (Flickr), encyclopedias of information (Wickipedia), used stuff of every sort (eBay), and the list goes on.

Weinberger sets for three orders of information. The first order is the arrangement of things (books alphabetical on a shelf, for examp...more
Tom
There are some concepts in this book that I'm on board with, namely that tagging and loosely defined ontologies associated with items make those items easier to find digitally. I also think that searching for meaning, vs. information, is a great pursuit. I came away from reading this book discouraged at the thought of the Internet circa 2010 providing that sort of meaning.

Not only are semantic connections between documents on the Internet weakly established, but they are hardly used, with nothin...more
David
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
Jon
This book should've been titled "Use Tagging." Actually, it could've been a blog entry entitled "Use tagging." Then again, you could probably read the two word phrase "Use Tagging" and save yourself 200+ pages of monotony.

Even in 2007, I don't think tagging was such an undiscovered territory as to require an entire book dedicated to it. At least not without the "for dummies" in the title. Yet, Weinberger attacks the subject with a zealot's fervor. File everything under miscellaneous! Dismantle a...more
Nick
A Celebration of Digital Disorder!
or
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...more
Liam
"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...more
Adrienne
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...more
Ryan
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...more
Jennifer
Amazon.com has Melvil Dewey rolling over in his grave. In the digital age, it is no longer possible or desirable to classify information in only one category. There is no longer a discrete place on the shelf for each book. Instead, we find the 'miscellanizing of information" in which information is categorized in any number of different ways for any different number of users. Instead of searching for a book in a catalog using a controlled vocabulary and author and title, the new user may search...more
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
Penny
The main point of the book is "the third order of order." The First Order is of physical objects, where each one can only be in one place. The Second Order is where limited data about the object can be catalogued (like a library card catalogue), so that information about the object is separate from the object.

The Third Order applies to digital information, where "everything is metadata." Everything is in the miscellaneous pile until it is organized on the fly by someone searching for its tags or...more
Margot
Weinberger discusses the "three orders of order" at length in this book that brings together practice and theory of knowledge management, library science, computer science, and other organizational related disciplines. These "three orders" are basically the first order of a file cabinet or archive or pile of papers, the second order of a file cabinet with an index to the files inside (or a card catalog for a library), and the third order of digital miscellany, which incorporates tagging, metadat...more
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