David Weinberger on organizations principles and knowledge
working all summer on Everything Is Miscellaneous. It's due into the publisher in July'06 (...) Rather than doing the usual merchandising thing of using the limitations of the physical world to make its stores "sticky" (in the Web sense) -- e.g., putting the most popular items in the back -- Staples tries to organize its stores to emulate the Web's virtue of being frictionless. Staples actually wants customers to find what they need as quickly as possible. But the nature of space and atoms gets in the way, as we learn on a tour through Staples' store simulator, a full-size store closed to the public. (...) Those limitations are removed on line. What happens to the traditional principles of organization when the limitations of space and atoms are removed? Do the changes in the principles of organization merely help us come up with better arbitrary classifications? Or do they affect the nature of knowledge itself? (...) The digital world is enabling a third order of organization. (...) We then look at Amazon to see one way books get organized when information is freed from the tyranny of atoms.
Why do I blog this? I am also wondering about the very question of how organizations principles might impact knowledge appropriation and in fine knowledge itself. This makes me think of all the work done in cognitive science by people like David Kirsh, especially what he wrote about "the intelligent uses of space". Of course it's more related to how space and spatial dispositions impact the way people order actions but it is still close with regard to cognitive activites involved.