Monday, October 29, 2007

Featured Book – “Everything is Miscellaneous”

David Weinberger
Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder
303.4834 WEI

David Weinberger’s new book shows how the digital revolution is radically changing the way we make sense of our lives. Human beings are information omnivores, constantly collecting, labelling, and organizing data. Much of this behaviour is the result of the limited nature of the physical world, which demands individual items be given a single positions within the filing systems we use to sort data and objects.

But where the physical world demanded everything had its one place, digital media allows multiple categories and multiple shelves: everything becomes miscellaneous. Weinberger shows how the internet’s collaborative principles are, via Wikipedia, limiting the power of experts, and suggests that the expectations generated by how easy it is to cross-reference resources on the internet, and how popular it has become to socially recommend sites to your friends through “tagging” services like, finally liberates information-gathering from the solitary pursuit of putting single items into individual boxes and instead allows people to organise the things that they use the way the need to: into as many different categories as possible.

With everyone able to take part in creating and editing folksonomies where before they had to adapt to the taxonomies and classification schemes of prior experts, and an on-going review process where all may be one’s peer, David Weinberger’s vision of the present is one that sees hope in the digital disorder that is remaking business, education, politics, science, and culture.

Online video précis in long form from Weinberger’s own Google Tech Talk, or Michael Wesch’s five-minute Information R/evolution.

To borrow a copy of Everything is Miscellaneous, please contact the RSA Library.

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