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Weinberger Gives Google Tech Talk

I mentioned David Weinberger's book Everything is Miscellaneous before. Librarians may find Weinberger's ideas complete ANARCHY. To think content on the web is growing and being organized in a miscellaneous manner with no authority may make you think that librarianship and library science is destined for the abyss like strawberry phosphates and candy cigarettes. That's not what Weinberger gets at in a recent Google Tech Talk he gave May 10th.

On the web, we now develop and own the tools to organize content on the web. It is no longer controled by an authoritative voice. We are not viewing this content in terms of Melvel Dewey but is terms of clusters of information and how they relate to us on a personal level. He talked about faceted classification Which allows you to browse in a tree-like fashion except you get to pick what's the root and what's the branch. For example, you can start out a search for 20th Century, then author's country of birth, then by gender, then change it all. In other words, you get to construct the tree. He also talked about how tagging has taken off. It's popular because we get to create our own categories. The reader decides what the content is about, what is means to them, how it relates to them.

Another concept he talked about was in comparing old world categories and new web categories. With old world categories information was excluded based on physical space. There was just not enough room to include everything. In the new web world, you can include everything because there is no space requirement. If something is not needed right now, postpone taxonomy until the user uses it. You can't know what people's interests are or will be so include everything.

Wikipedia: Something I found interesting is the statement that because Wikipedia is willing to admit their lack of credibility makes them more credible. Wikipedia is a good example of how we are building a rich layer of meaning that we can draw upon. We're doing this for ourselves and will be doing it for generations to come.

Very interesting talk. If you have the time (57 minutes) I would suggest taking a look at it. If anything, it will spark your interest in how librarians will grow and work with the web in the years to come.

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