organization: or why I am not a cataloger

This is a post I wrote by hand when my computer was off getting fixed. I didn’t get around to transcribing it until now.

Once my grandmother asked my father and her cousin how she ought to organize her books. One said “Size!” and the other said “Color!” and, well, it went downhill from there. Despite my talk of growing up in a house with a card catalog, I’m not so great at organization myself. I’m amazed by Lindsay’s habits; I’m totally bowled over by Joy’s.

In fact, I sort neither by size nor by color. I have a folder on my computer called “Library School.” It has some subfolders for different classes, but I usually don’t create those until the semester’s over. (And it gets worse–the versions on my computer aren’t usually final–those are mostly saved on my end drive at school, and they’re in no order). I have a single notebook in which I take notes,
and a 3-ring binder with some dividers that holds syllabi, readings, assignments, etc. I keep my calendar in the student handbook that they give out for free at the beginning of the year.

Actually, this all works for me. I generally have what I need; I always have enough to get by. What I’m really having problems with is my account.

I’m seriously mystified by some of the tags I’ve come up wiht. What for instance, does web mean? Surely in some respect everything that I tag could be called web–things tagged on are of the web just by their very nature, though of course they are not necessarily about the web. Perhaps that’s the difference. Tech seems a little more straightforward–at least it did until I started thinking about it. Does it mean actual bits of technology or just stuff related to technology? Is it of or about? And honestly–I have 40 or so things currently tagged tech–how am I supposed to find the one I’m looking for among them? I could go on–what is the difference between tools and tricks? And what about hacks (or rather hack, which is apparently the tag I actually used)? Do I bookmark the blog post in which I read about a new resource (handy because it generally includes a review of the resource) or do I just bookmark the resource itself (more direct, fewer clicks)? You get the idea.

As you’ll see, the problem extends as well to the categorizing of posts on this blog. I was all excited initially at the thought of figuring out what all I was writing about. I’m still interested, but I’m nowhere near finished. I’ve categorized about half the posts, I think, but I’m not totally happy with the ones I’ve chosen. The people who are Technorati-tagging their posts have the added disadvantage of trying either to pick one tag or to come up with all its possible variants–l2, library2.0, library20, etc.
Don’t get me wrong–I love, I love tagging, I love the wisdom of the crowds–but I also have a newfound respect for the catalogers and ontologists of the world. They’ve got their work cut out for them.

Now really–size or color?

One thought on “organization: or why I am not a cataloger”

  1. Size & color are perfectly respectable ways to categorize books. So, too, is alphabetically by first line. Play fast & loose with categories: it is very 18th century.

Comments are closed.