aku-aku: v.. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
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lumps and splits
Posted by dav at 2004 September 13 11:55 AM
File under: Events

Dave Weinberger's Sunday session at FOO Camp was an introduction to his book in progress with a working title of Lumps and Splits (working subtitle is Messiness as a Virtue). It was an example of what I consider to be the most prevalent track at this conference: categorization/tags/pivot points/ontologies.

Here's my notes from the session:

- Lumps and Splits [Messiness as a Virtue], Dave Weinberger
- [way cool email address deleted]
- How we draw lines defines culture (romans didnt have dff word for baby/adolescent)
- book is about changes in how we classify
- typical
step 1 arrange items (books)
step 2 make index (card catalog)
- new
step 3 - the owners of the info no longer control the organization of the info
- no penalty for having multiple tags
- job of librarian changes from coming up with useful taxonomy to building as much meta
data as possible into object so users can catalog as has meaning to them
- chapters
- lumps and splits, why isn't everything miscellaneous?
- dewey decimal system, why is it so racist? (less digits for christianity than "other")
- Classifications are tools, not mirrors of reality
- Steven Pinker (is 64 more even than 4? people say yes)
- worst classification system: the colon system (facted classification)
- better to have a wrong system than waste time fixing it
- bar codes and rfids as transitional elements between real world and digital
- value of implicit meta data
- history of spaces between worlds and history of capitalization
- trees (branching trees)
(google kicked yahoo's ass but there are places for trees
- (game of 20 questions, 20 hops gets you anywhere))
- farce of knowledge, attempts to make universal taxonomies
- Celestial Empire of Benevolent Knowledge
- perhaps history of SGML will go here
- how do you knit disparate ontologies together
- del.icio.us tag choice as popularity contest
- historical controversy of the introduction of alphabetization as an affront to God's Plan
- object model of OWL as differnt sort of obj model than that of a programming language
- people cluster around prototypes (name a bird, unlikely to name an ostrich)
- dow jones had a boolean search engine which failed because it was too exact, what worked
better was a fuzzier search that lets the human skim more results
- scientific name for blue whale means "winged little mouse" ...all that matters is it has a name


Hi Dav,
Just wanted to say thanks for posting your notes. As a librarian I find this stuff fascinating - thanks for putting me on to this guy's work!

Posted by: Anne on September 22, 2004 10:10 PM

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