O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference 2005: Shirky, "Ontology is Overrated"
CS acts like he's saying something new
the Library of Congress's classification scheme exists not because concepts require consistent hierarchical placement, but because books do
Argh. Yes, as a matter of fact, we all learned this in school. LC developed to provide access to a particular collection of books: the books in the physical collection of the library of congress
. It was never meant to be a representation of the state of the world's knowledge.
CS also gives the example of the lack of a category for oncology. Right, that's why NLM has their own classification
DDC has a lot of problems, too. Too many computer subjects not originally accounted for by Melvil, etc. That's why there are huge committees and people trying to fix and update these things. The end goal is the same: to provide access to library resources to solve the information needs of the end user
. Library classification systems cannot solve the philosophical questions that should be left to PhDs and theologians.
Update: The link to the mp3 of the presentation was provided in the comments to this post. I'll include it here for everyone's benefit: http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail470.html
. Perhaps I was too hasty in my post above. From the more detailed description on this site, it sounds a lot more interesting.
Update 2: I like this version of social tagging
Update 3: Listening to it now. Does anonymous know where I can get the slides? Still a little annoyed at some of the discussion of lc stuff, but I guess he needs to go about it that way due to his audience. "signal loss" in traditional classification schemes where you can have overlap etc., in online tags...
Update 4 (5/17/2005): Shirky has posted notes from this and an IMCExpo talk here