Media, Information and Technoculture 2200F/G Lecture Notes - Melvil Dewey, Dewey Decimal Classification, Paul Otlet

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MIT 1700 Lecture “A Brief History of Order February 15, 2011
Week 7: A Brief History of Order
Accessibility is supa important when it comes to Information. If information were just
about storage, it would be easy. But eventually we might want to make use of it, so we need to
have a means of retrieving it. In order for this to happen, we have to organize this loose
confederation of Information that is useful and accessible to us.
Itinerary
-Information needs to be organized: The 3 Orders of Organization
-Historical models of organization (a selective mix tape)
-Aristotle
-Encyclopedists
-Carolus Linnaeus
-Melvill Dewey
-Paul Otlet and the Documentalists
-DSM
-Astronomical Union
The 3 Orders of Organization
-Physical Partitioning
-Organizing rooms (Socks go in one drawer, shirts in another)
-Everything has a place
-Spatial Organization
-Metadata
-Cataloguing systems that facilitate searching for information and finding it.
-Dewey Decimal System at library, card catalogue
-Spatially referential
-Digital Organization
-Ability to transfer information through proximity and analogy.
-If you misspell a search term, you can still locate the info. you’re looking for plus
associated content.
-Most familiar with this: dynamically referential. Allows info to be catalogued in an
infinite number of ways.
-Grocery Layout Manipulation:
-Making you walk through all the snack foods, chocolate and magazines to get to what
you really want
-A way of using information to manipulate you to purchase more product (that you
didn’t intend to come buy)
-“Stand and Scan”: we walk into the store and scan the store in a few seconds about
whether or not we’re going to continue into the store and possibly buy something. The
information that’s coming at you has to entice you, not just the front of the store.
-Information is used to manipulate you at a commercial level.
-This is completely moot in a digital environment (shopping online).
-But their flashiest products will probably be on the home page, they’re still coming at
you with the best deals and stuff.
-They’re still limited by space on their web server
-There needs to be something to organize info, or it just sits there.
-Photos taken on a vacation (1000 pictures)
-Upload them all to computer
-their file names aren’t revealing (DSC00079.jpg)
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Document Summary

Accessibility is supa important when it comes to information. If information were just about storage, it would be easy. But eventually we might want to make use of it, so we need to have a means of retrieving it. In order for this to happen, we have to organize this loose confederation of information that is useful and accessible to us. Information needs to be organized: the 3 orders of organization. Historical models of organization (a selective mix tape) Organizing rooms (socks go in one drawer, shirts in another) Cataloguing systems that facilitate searching for information and finding it. Dewey decimal system at library, card catalogue. Ability to transfer information through proximity and analogy. If you misspell a search term, you can still locate the info. you"re looking for plus associated content. Allows info to be catalogued in an infinite number of ways.

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