Archive for January, 2007

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Prolegomena to a Review of Everything is Miscellaneous

A week or two ago I received an advance reader’s copy of David Weinberger‘s Everything is Miscellaneous, due to be published in May. Over the next four months I’m going to be mentioning Weinberger and his book a lot, culminating in some sort of “real” review timed to the release date.

Everything is Miscellaneous is about “what’s happening to knowledge” in the digital age–how structures of knowledge suited for the physical world are being transformed in the digital one, and what this means. The topic is of direct interest to what LibraryThing is “all about,” and I think, to the Library and Information Science and Information Architecture readers of Thingology generally. Tags, faceted classifications, Flickr, and Dewey—need I say more?*

As will become clear, I’m a huge fan on Weinberger’s work (while still finding grounds for criticism). Everything is Miscellaneous is well-written and accessible, and not without intellectual depth. A philosophy PhD, radio commentator and business consultant, Weinberger’s book has a shot at becoming the “next Tipping Point,” while also mentioning Heidegger far more than most business readers will expect (or want).**

In subsequent posts I’m going to spend some time exploring Weinberger’s ideas, drawing mostly on his many talks, some of which actually map to chapters of his book. But I won’t cite the book a lot. I once managed to review a Hollywood movie long before its release date, and wound up the first review online.*** But I think ARC etiquette dictates I hold off. Someone tell me if I’m wrong.

If you haven’t heard any of Weinberger’s “preview talks” to Everything is Miscellaneous, I’ve provided a guided list to all I’ve seen online. They differ a good deal, but clearly partake of a single Platonic talk.

Check one out and come over to the LibraryThing’s Everything is Miscellaneous group. Weinberger started it himself, perhaps thinking it wouldn’t see action until the book came out. In this as everything else, I’m acting without coordination.****

  • Talk in Scotland, close the UNC talk, but slower and more focused in presentation. The video is the only I’ve seen that shows his creative animated slides (audio and video)
  • Weinberger at the LC, with some bits and pieces from his second book, Small Pieces Loosely Joined, in the mix (audio)
  • “Messiness is a virtue.” A lengthy, intellectual, messy slice from the upcoming book (audio)
  • Another slice (audio)
  • Short All Things Considered piece on tagging
  • At the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science (audio)
  • What’s happening to knowledge? Wikimania 2006. I can’t put my finger on it, but this is my least favorite one (video)

*And LibraryThing briefly and—very distressingly—wrongly. I’m going to see if he can at least eliminate the error.
**I thank Weinberger for finally giving me something to say about Heidegger at cocktail parties while allowing me to remain unsullied by his impenetrable prose and political villainies.
***My review of Oliver Stone’s Alexander the Great.
****Full disclosure: Apart from asking for and getting an ARC, I have nothing to disclose. He’s never bought me a beer and I don’t owe him money. He once let me look at an essay he was writing, and I made pedantic objections related to Greek oleiculture. I ate some free food at one of his talks, but I don’t think he paid for it.

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Sunday, January 7th, 2007

We’re hiring!

See the post on the main blog.

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