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The Discipline of Organizing: Professional Edition, 3rd Edition by Robert J. Glushko

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4.2. An Overview of Resource Description

We describe resources so that we can refer to them, distinguish among them, search for them, manage access to them, and preserve them. Each purpose might require different resource descriptions. We use resource descriptions in every communication and conversation, and they are the enablers of organizing systems.

4.2.1. Naming {and, or, vs.} Describing

Chapter 3, “Resources in Organizing Systems discussed how to decide what things should be treated as resources and how names and identifiers distinguish one resource from another. Many names are literally resource descriptions, or once were. Among the most common surnames in English are descriptions of occupations (Smith, Miller, Taylor), descriptions of kinship relations (Johnson, Wilson, Anderson), and descriptions of appearance (Brown, White).192[Ling]

[192][Ling] (Reaney and Wilson 1997) classify surnames as local, surnames of relationship, surnames of occupation or office, and nicknames. The dominance of occupational names reflects the fact that there are fewer occupations than places. While there are only a handful of kinship relationships used in surnames (patronymic or father-based names are most common), because the surname includes the father’s name there is more variation than for occupations.

Similarly, many other kinds of resources have names that are property descriptions, including buildings (Pentagon, White House), geographical locations (North America, Red Sea), and cities ( ...

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