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Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

David Weinberger
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Mai 2007
Business visionary and bestselling author David Weinberger shows how the digital revolution is radically changing the way we make sense of our lives
Human beings are information omnivores: we are constantly collecting, labeling, and organizing data. But today, the shift from the physical to the digital is mixing, burning, and ripping our lives apart. In the past, everything had its one place--the physical world demanded it--but now everything has its places: multiple categories, multiple shelves. Simply put, everything is suddenly miscellaneous.
In Everything Is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger charts the new principles of digital order that are remaking business, education, politics, science, and culture. In his rollicking tour of the rise of the miscellaneous, he examines why the Dewey decimal system is stretched to the breaking point, how Rand McNally decides what information not to include in a physical map (and why Google Earth is winning that battle), how Staples stores emulate online shopping to increase sales, why your children's teachers will stop having them memorize facts, and how the shift to digital music stands as the model for the future in virtually every industry. Finally, he shows how by "going miscellaneous," anyone can reap rewards from the deluge of information in modern work and life.
From A to Z, Everything Is Miscellaneous will completely reshape the way you think--and what you know--about the world.

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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 277 Seiten
  • Verlag: Henry Holt; Auflage: First Edtion (Mai 2007)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0805080430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805080438
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 2,5 x 16 x 23,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 252.373 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Human beings are information omnivores: we are constantly collecting, labeling, and organizing data. But today, the shift from the physical to the digital is mixing, burning, and ripping our lives apart. In the past, everything had its one place--the physical world demanded it--but now everything has its places: multiple categories, multiple shelves. Simply put, everything is suddenly miscellaneous.

In Everything Is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger charts the new principles of digital order that are remaking business, education, politics, science, and culture. In his rollicking tour of the rise of the miscellaneous, he examines why the Dewey decimal system is stretched to the breaking point, how Rand McNally decides what information not to include in a physical map (and why Google Earth is winning that battle), how Staples stores emulate online shopping to increase sales, why your children’s teachers will stop having them memorize facts, and how the shift to digital music stands as the model for the future in virtually every industry. Finally, he shows how by "going miscellaneous," anyone can reap rewards from the deluge of information in modern work and life.

From A to Z, Everything Is Miscellaneous will completely reshape the way you think--and what you know--about the world.

The Flocking of Information: An Amazon.com Exclusive Essay by David Weinberger
As businesses go miscellaneous, information gets chopped into smaller and smaller pieces. But it also escapes its leash--adding to a pile that can be sorted and arranged by anyone with a Web browser and a Net connection. In fact, information exhibits bird-like "flocking behavior," joining with other information that adds value to it, creating swarms that help customers and, ultimately, the businesses from which the information initially escaped.

For example, Wize.com is a customer review site founded in 2005 by entrepreneur Doug Baker. The site provides reviews for everything from computers and MP3 players to coffee makers and baby strollers. But why do we need another place for reviews? If you’re using the Web to research what digital camera to buy for your father-in-law, you probably feel there are far too many sites out there already. By the time you have scrolled through one store’s customer reviews for each candidate camera and then cross-referenced the positive and the negative with the expert reviews at each of your bookmarked consumer magazines, you have to start the process again just to remember what people said. Wize in fact aims at exactly that problem. It pulls together reviews from many outside sources and aggregates them into three piles: user reviews, expert reviews (with links to the online publications), and the general "buzz." (For shoppers looking for a quick read on a product, Wize assigns an overall ranking.) When Wize reports that 97 percent of users love the Nikon D200 camera, it includes links to the online stores where the user reviews are posted, so customers are driven back to the businesses to spend their money.

Zillow.com does something similar for real estate. The people behind Expedia.com, Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, were looking for a new business idea--and were in the market for new homes. After hunting for information, they found that most of it was locked into the multiple listings sites of the National Association of Realtors. Now Zillow takes those listings and mashes them up with additional information that can help a potential purchaser find exactly what she wants. The most dramatic mashup right now is the "heat map" that uses swaths of color to let you tell at a glance what are the most expensive and most affordable areas. At some point, though, Zillow or one of its emerging competitors will mash up listing information with school ratings, crime maps, and aircraft flight patterns.

Wize and Zillow make money by selling advertising, but their value is in the way their sites aggregate the miscellaneous--letting lots of independent sources flock together, all in one place.

We’re seeing the same trend in industry after industry, including music, travel, and the news media. Information gets released into the wild (sometimes against a company’s will), where it joins up with other information, and the act of aggregating adds value. Companies lose some control, but they gain market presence and smarter customers. The companies that are succeeding in the new digital skies are the ones that allow their customers to add their own information and the aggregators to mix it up, because whether or not information wants to be free, it sure wants to flock.


"The world is messy, like it or not, and it's only going to get messier as the Web destroys rules and rule-makers. You can either complain about the chaos and wish for the good old days of order, or you can buy this book and understand why delirious disorder will soon make us all smarter."--Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail
"David Weinberger attacks the complexity of the real world, not by making it simple, but by making it clear. Once he explains how things can be in more than one place at a time--and make sense--you'll never look at a humble index card the same way again."--Esther Dyson

"From how information is organised, to the nature of knowledge and how meaning is determined, this book is a profound contribution to understanding the impact of the digital revolution."--Richard Sambrook, director, BBC Global News
"Everything Is Miscellaneous is a rare and mesmerizing mix: one the one hand, it's an essential guide to latest information age trends, one that will be extremely useful for businesses and consumers alike. But the book is much more than that as well: it's a probing and profound exploration of how we create meaning in the world."--Steven Johnson, author of The Ghost Map and Everything Bad Is Good For You
"Just when I thought I understood the world, David Weinberger turns it upside down--and rightside up--again. Everything Is Miscellaneous explains the radical changes happening in digital information--and therefore in society as a whole."--Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and chair, Wikia.com

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Von Laura M.
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Das Buch zeigt, wie die Strukturen der Ordnung und Organisation geschichtlich gewachsen und durch Konvention als einziger Weg gesetzt sind. Alternativen Bibliotheken zu Ordnen oder andere Items nach Systemen zu ordnen werden aussen vorgelassen. die eine Ordnung ist die wahre Ordnung. Im digitalen Zeitalter werden diese linearen, "wahren" Strukturen jedoch durch Tagging und Querverweise, durch die Vielfalt im Netz, in Frage gestellt. Was das für unser Denken, unser gemeinsames Handeln und für unser Wissen heisst, beleuchtet der Autor umfassend, einleuchtend und sehr spannend. Auf jeder Seite gibt es einen AHA-Effekt.
Viel Spaß bei der Lektüre....
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0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen wonderful read 7. Dezember 2010
Von B. Fries
One of the best books I've read on the topic. Weinberger explores many subjects related to the issue of smart ways to organize information in the digital realm. By drawing from this wide range of sometimes seemingly unrelated topics the book is gripping and informative from the first page until the last. I definitely recommend it for anyone interested in gathering a deeper understanding of how new information technologies will shape the world we live in.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Deceptively deep 4. Mai 2007
Von Ethan Zuckerman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
One of the central ironies of David Weinberger's new book, "Everything is Miscellaneous", is that a book about classification is bound to suffer from classification problems. Reviewers and bookstore owners are inclined to think of David as a business writer because his previous books - The Cluetrain Manifesto and Small Pieces Loosely Joined - were profoundly useful in helping businesspeople understand what this World Wide Web thing was really all about. But it's a mistake to consider David's new book solely as a business book.

Which isn't to say that reading Everything is Miscellaneous won't help you make a buck in world of Web 2.0. It probably will, as the issues Weinberger explores are core to any business that deals with information and knowledge... which is to say, virtually every industry you can think of. But "Everything is Miscellaneous" is also a philosophy book. It's about the shape of knowledge, and how moving information from paper to the web changes how we organize and how we think. And this means that Weinberger's book crosses from territory like Wikipedia and Flickr into Aristotle and Wittgenstein.

This would be a dangerous path for a lesser author to take, but David grounds his explorations in examples and interviews that are, as Cory Doctorow puts it, wonderfully miscellaneous. We bounce between the lives and ideas of taxonomers past - Linneaus, S.R. Ranganathan, and the wonderfully strange Melvil Dewi - and the librarians and software developers who are making sense of today's digital disorder.

At its heart, the book is about what happens when we liberate knowledge from the world of atoms. In the physical world, we can only organize books on a shelf in one way or another - books can't be in multiple places at once. Frequently we find ourselves reduced to ordering information in arbitrary ways as a result - AAAAA Towing Service gets more business through the phonebook than Mike's Wreckers through the unfairness of alphabetization.

Adding a layer of metadata to the physical world helps somewhat - card catalogs allow us to put multiple pointers to a single physical location so we can file a single book on Military Music under both "Music" and "Military". But card catalogs pale in comparison to the wonders of "third-order" metadata, the sorts of organization we're capable of in a digital age. A book listed by Amazon can be filed in any number of categories. It can be annotated with reader reviews, added to reading lists, enhanced with tags or statistically improbable phrases. The "card" in the card catalog can be larger than the book itself, and the full text of the book serves as metadata, as the book itself is searchable.

Weinberger argues that the fact that we tend to organize data in terms of its physical placement has consequences for how knowledge works. We tend to think in Aristotelian terms - objects are members of a categories, and share the same traits as other members of that category. We can organize these categories into trees: a robin is a bird, which is an animal. We can expect the leaves of trees to share the attributes of their branches, and we expect each leaf to fit onto only one, specific branch.

But that's not knowledge works in a digital age. When I bookmark a [...] it's to my benefit to add many tags to it, both because it makes it easier for me to find it again, and because it helps other people find it as well. Weinberger advises us to "put each leaf on as many branches as possible", building a tree that looks more like a hyperlinked pile of leaves.

This suggestion, along with advice to use everything as a label, to filter only when we need outputs, and to give up the idea that there's a "right way" to order things, serve as a roadmap for how to build tools and services in a digital age. But the magic of Weinberger's book is that this practical advice is also an invitation to explore categorization, language and knowledge itself. If knowledge is a pile of leaves instead of a tree, how does the shape of our knowledge change?

It's questions like this that make "Everything is Miscellaneous" deceptively deep. One moment, we're thinking about how we organize photographs in shoeboxes or on our hard drives, and a moment later we're asking whether we understand "shoebox" in terms of definitions, family resemblances or exemplars. It's a little like drinking a mojito - smooth going down, but deceptively powerful, and slightly staggering when you get up to buy the next round.

I've read the book twice now, and am looking to my third pass through it. Weinberger has done something rare and admirable here - he's written about a world I thought I knew well in a way that makes me realize that there are innumerable depths and implications left to explore.
31 von 34 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The way of the (Virtual) World 5. Mai 2007
Von Miles Kehoe - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
With a background in enterprise search, I'm inclined to think of David's book as required reading for those who doubt how vital meta-data and community tagging is to quality corporate search. In reality, it's about meta-data.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the book is about moving organization and retrieval of content - physical and virtual - from atoms to electrons. Office supply stores, libraries, and daily life are all limited by atoms: how much space there is in a store; what products should be displayed near other products; and what single specific shelf should a new book occupy given the Dewey Decimal system categorization.

In our increasingly virtual world, based on electrons, little of this matters - fax/copying/printer/scanners can be 'stored' under all of those categories, or a new book can be tagged with every possible related term, regardless of what category the librarian suggests. Web 2.0, Flickr, Wikipedia, Enterprise Search 2.0, all of our virtual worlds, will allow us to tag everything in any way that will help us find it again. And we can make it even better by opening the tagging up to a wider audience - friends, co-workers, even strangers - consider Amazon's suggestion system.

The book is a masterpiece and is a must-read for anyone involved in using - or designing - any part of our virtual and future world(s).
49 von 57 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A rambling look at an important subject 1. Juni 2007
Von Yaron - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The big contribution of "Everything is Miscellaneous", I think, is the concept of "orders". "First-order order" is structuring, like the placement of sentences in a text or products on a shelf. "Second-order order" is classification, putting information into categories and subcategories, maps,, etc. "Third-order order" is tagging and other meta-data, which allow us to make our own categorization on the fly ("give me a list of all books in this bookstore, divided by century published and subdivided by genre"). It's a neat set of phrasing, and if the book is not remembered for anything else, hopefully that taxonomy will remain.

Where the book falls short, though, is in its own "first-order order", its organization of ideas; which may be sadly appropriate for a book extolling "messiness". The book jumps from topic to topic, introducing ideas and people seemingly (to my mind) haphazardly, and in a way that makes it hard to keep track of all that has been covered. A better system of organization might have been chronological. After all, the full possibilities of tagging, or "third-order order", have only been enabled by computers and the Web. How much more interesting could it have been if we could see the progression of techniques for ordering and taxonomy through time, as a function of improving information technologies? Have there been pre-computer attempts at tagging? You can get a sense for some of these issues by piecing out the historical anecdotes Weinberger places, but it would have been easier to see them in a more natural order.

On that note, I also think Weinberger gives too little time to historical attempts at classification. The book does contain interesting examples of thoughts about categorization, from the ancient Greeks onward, but too often Weinberger stacks the deck against previous generations, by bringing in such loaded examples as apartheid South Africa's classification of races or psychiatrists' old definition of homosexuality as an illness. That unfairness extends even to book classification, where Weinberger talks at length about the badly-designed Dewey Decimal System, but ignores the Library of Congress system, which is nearly as old and much better-produced.

Blogs, on the other hand, get a lot more attention in the book than I think they should: they do not provide meta-data at all but rather commentary, and those two are not the same thing. Weinberger does not clarify that distinction, and in fact at one point asserts that "everything is metadata". That's not true in any rigorous sense, and I think just further confuses the issue.

On other current technologies I give "Everything is Miscellaneous" a mixed review. Wikipedia gets a prominent mention, as it should, but there's no discussion of categories within Wikipedia, which is the biggest effort at what could be called "collaborative tagging", as distinct from the standard web model of every user creating their own tags. And there's a nice discussion of the Semantic Web, but none of semantic wikis; Weinberger missed a chance to think a little ahead of 2007 (I'm speculating here a little bit).

For an information-science enthusiast like me, just about any discussion of classification is interesting; however, this book unfortunately does not provide a solid or clear overview of the theory of classification, instead getting caught up in what I see as Web boosterism. Yes, the Web has changed a lot about categorization, but not *everything* on the Web has done that.
45 von 55 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen A magazine article padded out to a not very good book 1. August 2007
Von J. D. Cook - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The core conceit of "Everything is Miscellaneous" is the "third-order of order". Here's how it works:

First-order is stuff. You put your stuff in places. Woo hoo. But where is my purple frog pither? DRAT!

Second-order is cataloguing or "stuff about stuff". You pick a few attributes about each bit of stuff and write them down with some location information e.g. a library card catalogue. Ideally so that later you can find bits of stuff with the attribute on the list. Yea team. But it can only be searched the way you made the catalogue. If I only remember the thing is purple and not that it is a pither, I can't look it up. Oh well.

Third-order is every bit of information that you (or anyone or everyone else) can think of about some other bit of information. A bit of reflection tells you that you cannot do this all at once (who'd remember? who wouldn't think of something to add later?) so it isn't suited for paper. So you put it on a computer. Great. Now you can search on "purple" or "frog" or perhaps "pointy" and get a list of things with that attribute.

What's particularly cool about this (and Weinberger doesn't explicitly mention it so maybe it's only cool to me) is that GIVEN cheap computers and GIVEN huge amounts of metadata, THEN the "third-order of order" is an emergent property. It's very useful but it also strikes me as incredibly obvious.

That's my first big problem with the book. It's not a bad book in the sense that it will make you dumber. Rather, it takes an obvious premise (hey! databases and lots of metadata let you organise spontaneously in lots of different ways!) and some useful advice (hey! giving your customers lots of metadata and the ability to manipulate that metadata is probably a good idea!) and covers it in a meandering 200+ page book rather than a focussed 10 page magazine article.

Now, that makes sense for Weinberger as books are more prestigious and (presumably) better paid than magazine articles. But I have a hard time imagining anyone who is already interested in the subject of classifying information learning anything from this book.

My other beef is that there is nothing but cheerleading for the "third-order" concept. It is a great thing (really!) but it isn't a uniformly excellent thing. There is no real discussion in the book about the problems of noise (as in signal-to-noise). There is a brief mention of the "anyone can make stuff up" problem with Wikipedia. But that seems to be it. If he'd spent some time discussing problems of the "third-order of order" and possibly strategies for dealing with it, this would be a much better book.
24 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen From Aristotle to Del.icio.us 17. Juni 2007
Von K. Sampanthar - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In Brief

As other reviewers have mentioned David Weinberger's new book is a hard book to categorize, which is also the irony, since it's central premise is about categorizing information. I place this book in the company of other books about the internet and information; Ambient Findability - Peter Morville, Wikinomics - Don Tapscott, Wealth of Networks - Yochai Benkler. To me it's about the changes wrought by current trends on the internet. Weinberger is deeply familiar with internet and all it's implications, since he is one of the original authors of Cluetrain Manifesto which was probably the first book to outline the game changing nature of the internet. Here he tackles how to cope with the seeming chaos of digital information that we are deluged with.

This is a thought provoking book and will make you look at organizing information in a different way. It will help you understand some of the current trends on the internet and put it into historical context.


I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in internet trends especially as it relates to organizing information. If you are at all interested in the history of information and how we as humans have struggled to come to terms with the world, then this book is one of the best I have come across. It is well written and a pleasure to read.


David Weinberger, internet visionary, has again synthesized an intellectual romp through another important topic - Information. We, humans, are obsessed with defining, categorizing and organizing information as our way of bringing some order to the chaotic world we live in.
Weinberger explores our obsession with information from Plato and Aristotle to our modern-day digital explosion of information.
He frames this exploration by defining 3 orders of organizing information:

1) 1st Order organization is of the physical world, manipulating physical objects and organizing them,
2) 2nd Order of organization is the use of metadata to organize and categorize physical objects i.e. library card catalogs. This is still limited by physical constraints.
3) 3rd Order of organization is the world we live in today, as we move from the physical to the digital, organizing information becomes freed from physical constraints allows us to simultaneously define, categorize and organize information into a million different taxonomies.

The 1st and 2nd orders of organization are covered as Weinberger explores the history of our obsession with categorizing information; from Plato's `Joints of Nature', to Aristotle's `Trees of Knowledge'. We have been lumping and splitting information for thousands of years. Until recently we have been constrained by the laws of physics, it is hard for objects to be in two places. It is also hard to categorize the real world into orderly taxonomies i.e. what category does a duck-billed-platypus fit into?

The 3rd order organization is what Weinberger is referring to in his title, `Everything is Miscellaneous'. In a world where we can organize information any way we want, nothing needs to be categorized per-se and everything can live in a state of limbo in the miscellaneous category until we need it and then, and only then, does it need to be grouped, filtered, sorted for our immediate consumption.

The 3rd order world has freed information and people to categorize information anyway they want. It is no longer an academic exercise to come up with taxonomies. With tools like Digg, del.icio.us, Flickr etc. we slice and dice the world of information to our personal needs.

Understanding this digital disorder we live in and how we cope is the ultimate point of this book. True to form, Weinberger has given us a wealth of information to ultimately understand where we are today and how to build the tools to cope in the future.

Key Take-Aways

You will come away from this book understanding the following:
- Our historical struggle to organize information from the physical to the digital
- That we live in a new reality where information is freed from its physical constraints.
- The world of information is now available to all of us and can now be organized any way we want.


If you enjoyed any of Weinberger's previous books (Cluetrain Manifesto, Small Pieces Loosely Joined) you will not be disappointed. This is a pleasure to read and will make you think - my two most important attributes when it comes to books. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in information and the current trends on the internet. Weinberger has been right on the money with his observations of the internet and this book is no different; organizing information in the age of the internet is an important subject. Read why there is more to information than search alone.

Kes Sampanthar
Inventor of ThinkCube
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