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The Third Editions

Preface to the Third Edition

Updated for 2015

The first edition of The Discipline of Organizing, published in May 2013, was quickly adopted by many schools for courses on information organization, content and knowledge management, information architecture, and digital collections. The second editions introduced two separate versions of the text for audiences at different educational or professional levels. Now, this year, the third editions of The Discipline of Organizing add thousands of words of new content:

  • Introducing values and ethics into discussions of why we organize
  • Expanding treatment of information architecture, accessibility, and behavioral economics in interaction design
  • Expanding treatment of “where we organize” to consider city planning, built environments, and wayfinding
  • Addressing the unique challenges of organizing people, both in organizational contexts such as businesses, and as individuals via predictive analytics and other computational techniques
  • Incorporating five new reader-contributed case studies that apply the Organizing System framework to earth-orbiting satellites, the Art Genome Project, the lunchbox-delivering dabbawalas of Mumbai, an entomology museum, and a nonprofit book publisher

The Discipline of Organizing is again available in two different editions written for different audiences. Each is enhanced by nearly 100 pictures and illustrations, with scores of sidebars that extend the discussion from the main text. The Professional edition remains the definitive source for advanced students and practitioners who require comprehensive and pinpoint connections to the classic and contemporary literature about organizing. The book is highly interactive, with links to cross-references, glossary definitions, and external citations. It contains 700 tagged endnotes that connect to one or more of the contributing disciplines, adding depth without distraction. The Core Concepts edition is an abridged version that is simpler to read because it does not tempt the reader with this deep scholarly web of endnotes. Instead, it seeks to reinforce the concepts and design patterns with numerous "Stop and Think" exercises, and omits some of the theoretical nuance of the Professional edition to put more emphasis on concrete examples.

Compare editions (obsessive detail about 3rd edition changes)

  1st Edition 2nd Edition 3rd Edition
  • Information Architecture
  • Smart Resources
  • 14 More Case Studies
  • Expanded bibliography
  • 60 new photos/illustrations
  • "Organizing People"
  • "Organizing Places"
  • Computational Description
  • Values and Ethics
  • Accessibility
  • Behavioral Economics
  • UI Design Patterns
  • 5 New Case Studies
  • 5 New Sections
  • 13 New Sidebars
  • 54 New Endnotes
  • 73 New Bibilography Entries
  • Self-review quizzes
  • Improved accessibility
  • More navigation links
  • Bibliography back links
  • Glossary back links
  • Endnote discipline superscripts
  • Employs ePub3 and eduPub markup
  • Presentation features adapt to software capabilities
  • Improved footnote presentation in all readers
AVAILABILITY: Chapters 1-4, & 6 free download TDO-PRO & CORE at
  • Safari

Customized for Teaching

Instructors can also access our shared Teaching Materials — including classroom exercises, assignments, and other pedagogical resources — online at any time. (Registration is required to access these materials — please contact us to request access.)

Buy the Third Edition (ebook or PDF)

The new editions are available at 

Prospective instructors may contact us to request advance copies for lesson planning.

Buy the Second Edition (ebooks only)

If you're not ready to upgrade to the new editions yet, the second editions are still available at