Everything is Miscellaneous

I recently finished reading Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger. It wasn’t as insightful as I had hoped; but the main reason I read it is because it mentions Endeca (the software company I worked at this summer).

The main point was that categorizations, taxonomies, groupings, clusterings (whatever you want to call them) can increasingly be designed for any particular purpose. This is in contrast with the “one-size-fits-all” approach of the past (physical stores, dewey decimal system, database columns). I put the emphasis on design because designing an ordering system has the same essential properties as designing anything else. What’s really cool is when the ordering system can be designed automatically, on the fly, in response to user input — e.g. faceted browsing.

Next: On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins.

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