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David Weinberger — technologist, speaker, co-author of Cluetrain Manifesto, fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School — focuses on how the Internet is changing human relationships, communication, and society. He’s just published a new book called Everything is Miscellaneous: the Power of the New Digital Disorder. I’m just starting to delve into it, but already am impressed enough to recommend it highly.
In this book, Weinberger delves into the organization of the internet and explains the “digital order” (or the order of miscellany!) — which, because it’s made of bits rather than atoms, can ignore traditional organizational schemes, can be user-organized, can be reshuffled, reorganized and multiply organized to make digital objects easier to find. Weinberger’s not a librarian, but this book will have a great impact on librarians — Karen Schneider called it “dangerous.” Go out today and get a copy or three for your library, borrow it from a friend, buy it from amazon if you have to, but read this book!
(p.22-23)…But now we — the customers, the employees, anyone — can route around the second order. We can confront the miscellaneous directly in all its unfulfilled glory. We can do it ourselves and, more significantly, we can do it together, figuring out the arrangements that make sense for us now and the new arrangements that make sense a minute later. Not only can we find what we need faster, but traditional authorities cannot maintain themselves by insisting that we have to go to them. The miscellaneous order is not transforming only business. It is changing how we think the world itself is organized and — perhaps more important — who we think has the authority to tell us so.