Shirky’s Ontologies

Only now reading Clay Shirky’s Ontology Is Overrated. Feeling late into the game. Morsel #1 (my emphasis):

One reason Google was adopted so quickly when it came along is that Google understood there is no shelf, and that there is no file system [like there had been in Yahoo]. Google can decide what goes with what after hearing from the user, rather than trying to predict in advance what it is you need to know.

Two points are of especial interest in this statement. Continue reading

CLIR’s Chuck Henry on Classification

In the latest issue of the CLIR newsletter, CLIR president Chuck Henry gives a swift consideration of the evolution under way in classification in this digital age. He invokes Naming Nature, the book in which Carol Kaesuk Yoon chronicles how we’ve manifested our need to name the things in the world around us over the ages, and gives a nod to new-ish developments like the semantic web. My interpretation of his view is that these developments should cause formal classification to lift anchor and overlay across different, shifting contexts context. I would’ve liked to read about concrete ideas for this, but it is but a brief article. Continue reading