Digital Organization

everythingismiscellaneousThis week we are reading: Everything Is Miscellaneous, by David Weinberger. I love organizing just about anything and am always curious how information is organized.

This book aims to help people understand organization and the current trends of the internet. How has information and organization changed since the introduction of computers and the Internet?

From Publishers Weekly:

In a high-minded twist on the Internet-has-changed-everything book, Weinberger joins the ranks of social thinkers striving to construct new theories around the success of Google and Wikipedia. Organization or, rather, lack of it, is the key: the author insists that “we have to get rid of the idea that there’s a best way of organizing the world.”

Weinberger charts how as business, politics, science, and media move online, the rules of the physical world—in which everything has a place—are upended. One book on one bookshelf, for instance, no longer applies. A digital book can be shared across platforms and people. In the digital world, there appears to be less structure. But this lack of structure helps people find what they need quickly:

• Information is now a social asset and should be made public, for anyone to link, organize, and make more valuable.

• There’s no such thing as “too much” information. More information gives people the hooks to find what they need.

• Messiness is a digital virtue, leading to new ideas, efficiency, and social knowledge.

• Rather than relying on businesses or reviews for product information, customers trust people like themselves (so build your brand!).

Weinberger explores issues core to any business that deals with information and knowledge. Once information is moved from paper to the web, how does that change the value of the information? How does it change the way we think and organize? Everything Is Miscellaneous shows how anyone can reap rewards from the rise of digital knowledge. For me this rang true with the organization of photographs. I used to store them in photo boxes and albums, now they are in folders on my hard drive. I never look at them. And if I want to find a photo of a specific event, I have to hope to remember the date as that is how my folders are organized. Same is true for the best way to store digital documents. Trying to find that one document you need is easier if you have organized it clearly…and here is the important part, it has to be clear to you! If someone else takes your job, he or she will most likely organize according to what makes sense to them.

It’s important to understand the digital world and how best to work within it, that way you don’t become overwhelmed. Do you find that you organize information differently when it is digital?

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