Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Discipline of Organizing

The Discipline of Organizing

Edited by Robert J. Glushko
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 475
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Discipline of Organizing
    Book Description:

    Organizing is such a common activity that we often do it without thinking much about it. In our daily lives we organize physical things--books on shelves, cutlery in kitchen drawers--and digital things--Web pages, MP3 files, scientific datasets. Millions of people create and browse Web sites, blog, tag, tweet, and upload and download content of all media types without thinking "I'm organizing now" or "I'm retrieving now."This book offers a framework for the theory and practice of organizing that integrates information organization (IO) and information retrieval (IR), bridging the disciplinary chasms between Library and Information Science and Computer Science, each of which views and teaches IO and IR as separate topics and in substantially different ways. It introduces the unifying concept of an Organizing System--an intentionally arranged collection of resources and the interactions they support--and then explains the key concepts and challenges in the design and deployment of Organizing Systems in many domains, including libraries, museums, business information systems, personal information management, and social computing. Intended for classroom use or as a professional reference, the book covers the activities common to all organizing systems: identifying resources to be organized; organizing resources by describing and classifying them; designing resource-based interactions; and maintaining resources and organization over time. The book is extensively annotated with disciplinary-specific notes to ground it with relevant concepts and references of library science, computing, cognitive science, law, and business.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-31397-1
    Subjects: Business, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Jonathan Grudin

    This wonderful book arrives at the right time. It is more than a textbook—it defines and creates the field for which it is a text. Befitting a book that lays out a discipline of organization that spans print and digital media, this volume is carefully organized, with a focus on future print and digital editions.

    The Discipline of Organizinghas a broad scope. Even more valuable is its depth, the result of years of examining and thinking through related concepts—often overlapping but not identical—from the fields of library science, information science, business, and computer science. The rare...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xvii-xx)
    Robert J. Glushko
  5. Chapter 1 Foundations for Organizing Systems
    (pp. 1-46)
    Robert J. Glushko

    Toorganizeis to create capabilities by intentionally imposing order and structure. Organizing is such a common activity that we often do it without thinking much about it. We organize the shoes in our closet, the books on our book shelves, the spices in our kitchen, and the folders into which we file information for tax and other purposes. Quite a few of us have jobs that involve specific types of organizing tasks. We might even have been explicitly trained to perform them by following specialized disciplinary practices. We might learn to do these tasks very well, but even then...

  6. Chapter 2 Activities in Organizing Systems
    (pp. 47-94)
    Robert J. Glushko, Erik Wilde and Jess Hemerly

    There are four activities that occur naturally in everyorganizing system; how explicit they are depend on the scope, the breadth or variety of the resources, and the scale, the number of resources that the organizing system encompasses. Consider the routine, everyday task of managing your wardrobe. When you organize your clothes closet, you are unlikely to write a formalselectionpolicy that specifies what things go in the closet. You do not consciously itemize and prioritize the ways you expect to search for and locate things, and you are unlikely to consider explicitly the organizing principles that you use...

  7. Chapter 3 Resources in Organizing Systems
    (pp. 95-138)
    Robert J. Glushko, Daniel D. Turner, Kimra McPherson and Jess Hemerly

    This chapter builds upon the foundational concepts introduced in Chapter 1 to explain more carefully what we mean byresource. In particular, we focus on the issue of identity—what will be treated as a separate resource—and discuss the issues and principles we need to consider when we give each resource a name or identifier.

    In §3.2, “Four Distinctions about Resources” (page 99) we introduce four distinctions we can make when we discuss resources:domain,format,agency, andfocus. In §3.3, “Resource Identity” (page 109) we apply these distinctions as we discuss how resource identity is determined for physical...

  8. Chapter 4 Resource Description and Metadata
    (pp. 139-188)
    Robert J. Glushko, Kimra McPherson, Ryan Greenberg and Matthew Mayernik

    Click. A professional photographer standing on a mountainside takes a picture with a digital camera. What information should be recorded and associated with the recorded image of the mountain scene? Modern cameras assign an identifier to the stored photograph and they also capture the technical description of the image’s production: the type of camera, lens, shutter speed, light sensitivity, aperture, and other settings.¹⁹⁰ Many modern cameras also record information about the geographic and temporal circumstances surrounding the image’s creation: the date, time and location on Earth where the photograph is taken. When the image is transferred out of the camera...

  9. Chapter 5 Describing Relationships and Structures
    (pp. 189-234)
    Robert J. Glushko, Matthew Mayernik, Alberto Pepe and Murray Maloney

    We can consider a family to be a collection of people affiliated by some connections with each other such as common ancestors or a common residence. The Simpson family includes a man named Homer and a woman named Marge, the married parents of three sibling children, a boy named Bart and two girls, Lisa and Maggie. This is a magical family that speaks many languages, but always uses the language of the local television station. In the English-speaking Simpson family, the boy describes his parents as his father and mother and his two siblings as his sisters. In the Spanish...

  10. Chapter 6 Categorization: Describing Resource Classes and Types
    (pp. 235-272)
    Robert J. Glushko, Rachelle Annechino, Jess Hemerly and Longhao Wang

    For nearly two decades, a TV game show calledPyramidaired in North America. The show featured two competing teams, each team consisting of two contestants: an ordinary civilian contestant and a celebrity. In the show’s first round, both teams’ members viewed a pyramid-shaped sign that displayed six category titles, some straightforward like “Where You Live” and others less conventional like “Things You Need to Feed.” Each team then had an opportunity to compete for points in 30-second turns. The goal was for one team member to gain points by identifying a word or phrase related to the category from...

  11. Chapter 7 Classification: Assigning Resources to Categories
    (pp. 273-316)
    Robert J. Glushko, Jess Hemerly, Vivien Petras, Michael Manoochehri and Longhao Wang

    Classification, the systematic assignment of resources to intentional categories, is the focus of this chapter. In Chapter 6, “Categorization: Describing Resource Classes and Types”, we described categories as cognitive and linguistic models for applying prior knowledge and we discussed a set of principles for creating categories and category systems. We explained how cultural categories serve as the foundations upon which individual and institutional categories are based. Institutional categories are most often created in abstract and information-intensive domains where unambiguous and precise categories enableclassificationto be purposeful and principled.

    A system of categories and its attendant rules or access methods...

  12. Chapter 8 The Forms of Resource Descriptions
    (pp. 317-362)
    Ryan Shaw and Murray Maloney

    Throughout this book, we have emphasized the importance of separately considering fundamental organizing principles, application-specific concepts, and details of implementation. The three-tier architecture we introduced in § is one way to conceptualize this separation. In §5.7, we contrasted the implementation-focused perspective for analyzing relationships with other perspectives that focus on the meaning and abstract structure of relationships. In this chapter, we present this contrast between conceptualization and implementation in terms of separating thecontentandformof resource descriptions.

    In the previous chapters, we have considered principles and concepts of organizing in many different contexts, ranging from personal organizing systems...

  13. Chapter 9 Interactions with Resources
    (pp. 363-400)
    Vivien Petras, Robert J. Glushko, Karen Joy Nomorosa, J.J.M. Ekaterin, Hyunwoo Park and Sean Marimpietri

    Once our resources have been described and are suitably organized, we can focus our attention on the third main activity we outlined in Chapter 2, “Activities in Organizing Systems”: designing resource-based interactions. What kinds of interactions do we encounter and what interactions are needed inOrganizing Systems?

    The interactions necessary to select, describe, and organize resources were discussed in Chapter 2, Chapter 4, and Chapter 6 and we do not need to consider them again in this chapter. Furthermore, while it is crucial to understand all interactions that are possible within an organizing system context, this chapter will concentrate on...

  14. Chapter 10 The Organizing System Roadmap
    (pp. 401-436)
    Robert J. Glushko

    Chapter 1 defined an organizing system as “an intentionally arranged collection of resources and the interactions they support.” An organizing system emerges as the result of decisions about what is organized, why it is organized, how much it is organized, when it is organized, and how or by whom it is organized. These decisions and the tradeoffs they embody are manifested in the four common activities of organizing systems—selecting resources, organizing them, designing and supporting interactions with them, and maintaining them—which we described in Chapter 2. Chapters 3-9 progressively explained each of the parts of the organizing system:...

  15. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 437-440)
    Robert J. Glushko
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 441-478)
  17. Glossary
    (pp. 479-514)
  18. Index
    (pp. 515-536)
  19. About the Authors
    (pp. 537-539)
  20. Colophon
    (pp. 540-540)