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.
- “Information” is for use. Web content, journal articles, e-books available online whenever and wherever.
- Every user, his information. Portals and content curated and classified for different audiences; user-centric.
- Every information, its user. Content integrated and interoperable across sites and resources.
- Save the time of the user. Content catalogued with rich metadata on digital systems, distributed by proxies.
- 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.