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Author archives: Bob Glushko

“The Man Who Organized Everything”

The Boston Globe newspaper has an “Ideas” section that has a story today about The Discipline of Organizing with the amusing title “The Man Who Organized Everything,” meaning me. The writer (Chris Wright) is a free lancer who lives in London who interviewed me by Skype a couple of weeks ago when I was on [Continue reading ]

JK Rowling & Stylometric Analysis

In mid July 2013 The Sunday Times in London revealed that Robert Galbraith, who had written a detective novel called The Cuckoo’s Calling, was in fact JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books. This story has been widely covered (NY Times story here) but most of them don’t say much about how the [Continue reading ]

The Chaos of Personal Digital Archiving

It uses only simple visualization with bar charts and Venn diagrams, but Dog House Diaries cogently shows the problem with the lack of standards and app/context proliferation when it comes to keeping track of your personal digital resources. Think about where you keep your: Photos Documents Music Video TV Messages Friends (where you interact with [Continue reading ]

Peter Brantley on Intelligent, Adaptable Books – Like TDO!

Peter Brantley, who heads the open annotation project (where I have a student this summer working to integrate a browswer version of TDO with annotation capability), has written an interesting post in his blog on Publishers Weekly called “The Intelligent, Adaptable Book.” Brantley and I met earlier this week to discuss the TDO/ integration [Continue reading ]

A Webinar about The Discipline of Organizing

Today I did a webinar hosted by Scott Abel, the “content wrangler” personality that some of you might know from the conferences he organizes. The topic of the webinar was – you guessed it – The Discipline of Organizing. I presented a 40 minute version of the talk that I gave at several ISchools this [Continue reading ]

Two Books on “Organizing by Component Parts”

I’ve recently read (maybe “viewed” is more accurate because the books are “picture books”) two books that fascinated me because they took novel approaches to what we might call “Organizing by Component Parts.” The Discipline of Organizing discusses issues of Resource Identity (Section 3.3) in great detail. Nevertheless, these two books augment that discussion and [Continue reading ]

The Faustian Bargain with Ebooks

Clifford Lynch, the executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information and an adjunct professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information, writes a very critical article whose title says it all: “Ebooks in 2013: Promises Broken, Promises Kept, and Faustian Bargains.” His most scathing comments are about how publishers make it difficult for libraries [Continue reading ]

Classifying TDO

I suspected that a multi/trans-disciplinary book like TDO was going to be hard to classify, but it is almost amusing to see how it is being done. I am not surprised that the professionals at the Library of Congress put us in Z666.5, a category whose components are listed as: Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources [Continue reading ]

Provenance Problems and Repatriation – A Precedent

A couple of weeks ago I noted an interesting NY Times story about how provenance problems had led the Metropolitan Museum in NYC to decide to return a statue to Cambodia. There is a fascinating followup story in the May 16 NY Times (“From Jungle to Museum, and Back”) that adds some additional twists to [Continue reading ]

The Future of the Library

Libraries – in their historical, current, and future realizations – are an important topic in The Discipline of Organizing, and in particular Chapter 1 goes into some detail about “What Is a Library?” For many people the abstract concept of a library as an organizing system is hard to see because of the powerful cultural [Continue reading ]

Amazon’s Surprising Pricing for Print and Kindle TDO

Now that The Discipline of Organizing is available in print form, MIT Press has pushed the content-equivalent ebook versions into the usual channels. It didn’t surprise me that Amazon was the first to offer an ebook version, but I was surprised by the pricing. The list price of the print book from MIT Press is [Continue reading ]

Provenance Problems -> Repatriation

Just about everything I know about provenance – which isn’t a lot – made it into The Discipline of Organizing Section 3.5.4, so I was pleased this morning to read a story in the 4 May 2013 NY Times about how the Metropolitan Museum of Art has decided to return some 10th century Khmer sandstone [Continue reading ]

Using “Big Data” in “Human Resource Organizing Systems”

When I defined an “Organizing System” in The Discipline of Organizing as “an intentionally arranged collection of resources” I recognized that this could also apply to people-as-resources in the familiar sense of “human resources.” So as I said in Section 1.2.2, “We might discuss how human resources are selected, organized, and managed over time just [Continue reading ]

Diagnosing and Improving Textbooks with Data Mining

On May 1 I heard a stimulating lecture by Rakesh Agrawal from Microsoft Research in which he described work to diagnose the conceptual coherence and comprehensibility of textbooks and then automatically select additional web resources to augment the text at the problematic location. The key measure of coherence is called “dispersion” and it captures the [Continue reading ]

Instructing Readers to Read

There are some innovations in textbook design in The Discipline of Organizing, most notably: The large proportion of the text that was factored into discipline-tagged endnotes The use of content transclusion in glossary entries. To ensure that the glossary definitions are correct, they are transcluded from the definitions where they appear in the text rather [Continue reading ]

Classification Arbitrage

In economic contexts, “arbitrage” involves taking advantage of a price difference between two markets – you buy where the price is low and sell where the price is high.  A recent NY Times story discusses what we might call “classification arbitrage” – choosing a classification that gives the classified resource some property or advantage that [Continue reading ]

Minimalist Self-Assessment in Ebooks, Part 2

Readers don’t pay as much attention to the graphics in textbooks as an author would like. This is especially frustrating when the graphics go beyond “decoration” or “illustration” and are designed to be “explanatory”. Perhaps we can encourage TDO readers to study the graphics by enhancing them with self-assessment guidance? For example, Figure 1.2 Presentation, [Continue reading ]

Save Our Citrus App

Section 10.7.3 of TDO is a case study titled “Japanese farms look to the cloud” that describes the organizing system for a highly automated farm. The farmworkers use mobile phones for communication, location tracking, and to take pictures of infected crops for review by an expert. Today I discovered a US analog to this last [Continue reading ]

Minimalist Self-Assessment in EBooks

We have been talking about ways to enhance TDO with interactivity, and one is to turn the Key Points at the end of TDO chapters 2-10 into self-assessments. For example, the first three key points for chapter 2 are: Selection, organizing, interaction design, and maintenance activities occur in every organizing system. These activities are not [Continue reading ]

Organizing Home Media

I just discovered a nice little article: Sease, Robin, and David W. McDonald. “The organization of home media.” ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI) 18, no. 2 (2011): 9. McDonald is a professor at the University of Washington Information School and Sease was a master’s student there.  The paper analyzes 20 interviews with people about [Continue reading ]

Publication Schedule for the book and ebooks

The Discipline of Organizing book is on its way to the printer and should be available in April 2013. Epub2 (most ebook readers) and mobi (Kindle) formats will be available at the same time. -bob glushko