Weekly response: Christina

During last week’s in-class Omeka work, I suggested that we create categories and identify content to fill each one. My teammates opted instead to find a large selection of relevant items and then classify. Indexing vs Facets? According to Steckel, “Rather than creating a slot to insert the object into, one starts with the object and then collects and arranges all the relevant pieces on the fly. This allows for greater flexibility and a high degree of specificity.” Are there generational differences in how we order and retrieve information and subsequently think and learn?

PBS’ new mini-series How We Got to Now categorizes the history of modern life and innovation around six themes: Clean, Time, Glass, Light, Cold, and Sound. This is a good example of a classification scheme that organizes information and generates new ideas, per John Dewey’s “Knowledge is classification.”

And, I find Ranganathan’s Five Laws to be pertinent for many areas of digital scholarship: website architecture as discussed by Steckel but also content management strategies and academic publishing.

  1. “Information” is for use. Web content, journal articles, e-books available online whenever and wherever.
  2. Every user, his information. Portals and content curated and classified for different audiences; user-centric.
  3. Every information, its user. Content integrated and interoperable across sites and resources.
  4. Save the time of the user. Content catalogued with rich metadata on digital systems, distributed by proxies.
  5. The information collection is a growing organism. An ever-changing universe of content and creators responsive to digital disruptions — from open science initiatives to the internet of things.
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