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The Discipline of Organizing

This book changed my view of organizing as the dull, tedious task of putting things in order into thinking of it as the marvelous study of how people add structure to things ... Glushko is the master of the discipline of organizing, painting the fascinating story of how different organizational schemes change our behavior and our thoughts.

Don Norman, Author, "The Design of Everyday Things"; Professor/director, The Design Lab, University of California, San Diego

Ontology and representation are logical precursors to machine learning---the design of a system that learns from data presupposes an understanding of what that system should learn. In THE DISCIPLINE OF ORGANIZING we have a carefully-written, entertaining treatment of core material in knowledge representation, essential reading for any data scientist.

Michael I. Jordan,Professor, Computer Science and Statistics, University of California, Berkeley

Without understanding both the art and science of organization, data analysts and algorithms are destined to yield meaningless outputs that can lead to poor actions or policies. THE DISCIPLINE OF ORGANIZING provides vital perspectives on how data is created, named, and organized and should be required study for all data scientists.

Gary Marchionini, Dean, School of Information and Library Science,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill




We organize things, we organize information, we organize information about things, and we organize information about information. Organizing is an important and ubiquitous challenge in our personal and professional lives, and we can look to library and information science, informatics and computer science, cognitive science, linguistics, philosophy, business, law, and other fields for concepts and methods that guide us in organizing. THE DISCIPLINE OF ORGANIZING unifies these diverse perspectives with a transdisciplinary view that emphasizes what they have in common with the concept of an organizing system,, defined as an intentionally arranged collection of resources and the interactions they support.

Every organizing system involves a collection of resources, a choice of properties or principles used to describe and arrange resources, and ways of supporting interactions with resources. By comparing and contrasting how these activities take place in different contexts and domains, we can identify patterns of organizing and frameworks that enable more effective multidisciplinary communication and collaboration. We can create a discipline of organizing in a disciplined way.

New for 2016: The Revised 4th Editions

We are very excited to offer the revised, digital-only (pdf and epub) 4th editions of The Discipline of Organizing, published by O'Reilly Media, in three separate editions. In addition to the Professional Edition and the Core Concepts Edition that we've published since 2014, we're adding the Informatics Edition — making the book even more effective and engaging as an academic text for courses in Information Organization, Knowledge Management, Digital Collections, Information Architecture, Information Systems Design, Data Science, and other related fields, or as provocative reading for people who want to be more self-aware and effective about how they organize the resources they deal with in their personal and professional lives.

The 4th edition builds a bridge between organizing and data science. It reframes descriptive statistics as organizing techniques, expands the treatment of classification to include computational methods, and incorporates many new examples of data-driven resource selection, organization, maintenance, and personalization. It introduces a new “data science” category of discipline-specific content to add to the eleven disciplines that are already explicitly called out.

To learn more about the new editions, including where to get a copy and how we can help support its use in your classrooms, click here.

You can also learn about different profiles and strategies for teaching with TDO from the presentations and reports of the conference workshops held in March 2016, March 2015, October 2014 , and February 2014.

The Reviews are In

Glushko and his colleagues have become the 'go-to' for undergraduate and undergraduate introductory courses in information. Their argument that information is fundamentally about the discipline of organizing is subtle but powerful.

John Leslie King, University of Michigan

A veritable compendium of techniques and principles in the IT and LIS fields ... ideally suited as a textbook and a substantive reference text.

Elaine Svenonius, UCLA

This current edition continues to further define and refine IO in a data intensive world, where everyone, regardless of his or her intellectual and work space, is grappling with the challenge of making sense in a complex, data- and information-driven environment.

Ed Cortez, University of Tennessee

From the student perspective, it hits a sweet spot, balancing thoroughness and comprehensibility ... this book was exactly what I needed.

David Hansen, UNC-Chapel Hill

Find all our collected reviews here.