“This book is dangerous. Everything is Miscellaneous takes all the precious ideas we are taught as librarians and throws them out the window. Structure, order, precise metadata, bibliographic control: gone, gone, gone, gone.
Even, for you edgier types, ye who tell of your Semantic Web and your RDF triples: old-school, good-bye, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
In what Weinberger describes as the “third order” of information, knowledge is no longer bound by either-or decisions, and “can be in many places at once; knowledge does not fit into finite boxes or even have a shape; and — most disturbingly, though in Weinberger’s hands, also most entertainingly — messiness is a virtue.”
Weinberger “explains this point repeatedly but no better than in a section discussing Flickr, where automated and human-supplied metadata create â€œa mess than gets richer in potential and more useful every day. â€¦ Third-order messes reverse entropy, becoming more meaningful as they become messier, with more relationships built in.â€
As the ALA TechSource blog notes:
“The third order is most definitely not about attempting to perfect second-order rules and weld them to a third-order universe; it is not about predictive information; it is not about the primacy of accuracy over volume. The third order, in other words, is the opposite of how we do things in LibraryLand.”
In summary, says writer Karen Schneider: “This is, I repeat, a dangerous book. Ban it, burn it, or take it to heart. The most dangerous part of this book is not that Weinberger says these things, and so much more: the danger comes if we don’t listen.” Cory Doctorow has a review of the book at BoingBoing, and Cory is also the first in a series of interviews that Weinberger has done to go along with the book which are being made available as podcasts — and will include interviews with Arianna Huffington, Craig Newmark and others.