1.10. Organizing This Book

Devising concepts, methods, and technologies for describing and organizing resources have been essential human activities for millennia, evolving both in response to human needs and to enable new ones. Organizing Systems enabled the development of civilization, from agriculture and commerce to government and warfare. Today Organizing Systems are embedded in every domain of purposeful activity, including research, education, law, medicine, business, science, institutional memory, sociocultural memory, governance, public accountability, as well as in the ordinary acts of daily living.

With the World Wide Web and ubiquitous digital information, along with effectively unlimited processing, storage and communication capability, millions of people create and browse websites, blog, tag, tweet, and upload and download content of all media types without thinking “I am organizing now” or “I am retrieving now.” Writing a book used to mean a long period of isolated work by an author followed by the publishing of a completed artifact, but today some books are continuously and iteratively written and published through the online interactions of authors and readers. When people use their smart phones to search the web or run applications, location information transmitted from their phone is used to filter and reorganize the information they retrieve. Arranging results to make them fit the user’s location is a kind of computational curation, but because it takes place ...

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