Clay Shirky gave an informative and entertaining talk called "Ontology is Overrated" at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in March. Hear it online at IT Conversations (along with interesting audio of other ETech talks and more) or read an edited version (with the referenced graphs and such) combining the material from this and a panel session entitled "Folksonomy, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mess".
You can see there's a tag "to_read". A professional cataloguer would look at this tag in horror -- "This is context-dependent and temporary." Well, so was the category "East Germany."
The talk may be misnamed, depending on what "ontology" means to you. (No pun intended!) Shirky argues that "many of the ways we're attempting to apply categorization to the electronic world are actually a bad fit, because we've adopted habits of mind that are left over from earlier strategies" and predicts the success of "organic" classification schemes, such as folksonomies.
(Speaking of ETech, incidentally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that there's a talk by Rael Dornfest, who wrote the software this blog runs on.)
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