11.3. Defining and Scoping the Organizing System Domain

The most fundamental decision for an organizing system is defining its domain, the set or type of resources that are being organized. This is why “What is Being Organized?” (§2.2) was the first of the design decisions we introduced in Chapter 1.

We refine how we think about an organizing system domain by breaking it down into five interrelated aspects:

  1. the scope and scale of the collection

  2. the number and nature of users

  3. the time span or lifetime over which the organizing system will operate

  4. the physical or technological environment in which the organizing system is situated

  5. the relationship of the organizing system to other ones that overlap with it in domain or scope

Addressing these issues is a prerequisite for prioritizing requirements for the organizing system, proposing the principles of its design, and implementing the organizing system.

11.3.1. Scope and Scale of the Collection

The scope of a collection is the dominant factor in the design of an organizing system, because it largely determines the extent and complexity of the resource descriptions needed by organizing principles and interactions (§ The impact of broad scope arises more from the heterogeneity of the resources in a collection than its absolute scale. It takes more effort to manage a broad and large collection than a narrow and small one; it takes less effort to manage a large collection if it has a narrow scope. A cattle ranch can get by with just one ...

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