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Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,470 ratings  ·  230 reviews
Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Times Books (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Aug 04, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Stacy  Alesi
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
Nov 29, 2007 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 R. Coulter
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

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

Nigel Street
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 16, 2007 rated it did not like it
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.
May 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
From atoms to bits and how we all can add and retrieve information in the third order.
Dewey, Wikipedia, and much, much more.
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 23, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2011-12
In Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder, author David Weinberger argues that the avalanche of digital information is transforming the way that people navigate and utilize information. Weinberger argues that the formal, didactic systems of the past (think Dewey Decimal) are being replaced by information that can be sorted, tagged, and classified in spontaneous and innovative ways.

Weinberger’s miscellany thesis (information is now contextual rather than of inherent we
Jan 28, 2013 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
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was really interesting for me personally because it touched on a lot of computer sciencey things. Some of the main topics were why the Dewey Decimal system is falling apart, how Wikipedia manages to be surprisingly accurate and neutral, and why Aristotelean definitions are unusable in a digital setting. The main idea was that most of our modern systems for organizing information in a physical setting pale in comparison to the digital possibilities. One major exception it noted was the ...more
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book's take on how the internet age allows each of us to categorize and define things individually and specifically for our own purpose. History on the Dewey decimal system and how plants and animals are categorized was informative. His explanation of a robin being a "good example" of a bird where a penguin stretched my thinking. Also, the value of Wikipedia and how this "encyclopedia" is not limited by size and space. The part that it also was able to adjust and adapt to errors and ...more
Michael Beyer
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book by its very dry nonfiction-prose nature was a hard-slogging read that took me longer than intended. Of course, I started it during my vacation in Iowa with a large number of other things to occupy my mind. It was worth it, in the long run, but not nearly as enjoyable as nonfiction by Loren Eisley or Charles Lamb or many other gifted essayists I have read and enjoyed.
Kyle Stevens
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This one was hard for me to get through. I was definitely reading out of my comprehension level. I consider myself smart, but this one was just so abstract. I did keep with it and tried to get as much as possible from it, but honestly, I didn't get much.
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: synaps-best-of
This one reads like a novel, although it dwells on the origins of classification schemes, such as the alphabet or the Melvil Dewey system, which remained at the heart of how we organized knowledge until digitization turned everything on its head.
Travis Wagner
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Understandably dated at this point, but what Weinberger says about ideas of objectivity in practices of information organization remain crucial to how we should imagine this work going forward.
L. Farmer
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stephanie Wilcox
Disclaimer: I only read the second half for school. Intriguing nonetheless. Perhaps I'll make a new tag for books I only read part of for school?
Paul Ivanov
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
David Sasaki
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
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 rated it liked it
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
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting but repetitive
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 17, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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