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Leaves of knowledge
Friday, February 25, 2005
Taxonomies and Tags: From Trees to Piles of Leaves is an insightful investigation of classification systems by David Weinberger.


The tree of knowledge was a useful metaphor from Adam's fateful bite until the advent of the computer. It's the structure of Aristotle, Linnaeus, Darwin, Descartes, and Dewey the decimal guy.

This set-up is too rigid to explain today's world. Instead of trees, look at the components of trees. Think of elements of knowledge as leaves instead of branches.

Today a leaf of knowledge may appear on many trees simultaneously. You've got your tree, I've got mine, and the computer can reshuffle the leaves any number of ways. Tags, either formally defined taxonomies or organically generated "folksonomies," are ways to distribute leaves of knowledge into piles.

As our old mechanical view of the world yields to a dynamic systems view, the boundaries between disciplines break down. The "branches of science" become less important than the interactions within the ecosystem.

This brings me back, and I'm sorry to be a broken record on this but I'm exploring myself, to the principles of our new age: Everything's connected, nothing's predictable, and we're all in the same soup.


Blogger RJP said...

Have you seen this:

Its a database of baby names that plots their popularity over the last hundred years. As you type in a letter it narrows down the possible options. You can see when certain names rose to prominence. For instance, you could track the rise in popularity of the name "Sean" with the release of the first James Bond movie "Dr No". Just FYI.

7:16 AM  
Blogger RJP said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Crazy Dan said...

Hi Blogger, I thought I'd just leave this message on your blog. I hope you don't mind. I've been trying to find blogs where people are talking about simulation software and when I was looking, I found this one on this post. Leaves of knowledge, thought I would say hi, before I go off to find some more simulation software

2:33 PM  
Blogger Crazy Dan said...

Good morning Blogger, I find it quite refreshing to occasionally find a post such as yours with a different topic completely. It somehow ads to ones little list of lifes experiences.

I seem to have a soft spot for blogs related to
# #LINK## and /or sites that have a central theme around submit articles type items. I guess this comes from being a webmaster as well.

2:40 PM  

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