blog pictureI‘ve just updated my Tables of Contents (at top left), and realized that some of my categories have begun to slop together. My business writing is often about business weblogs and social software, and I’m not sure if that belongs in the ‘Business Papers’, ‘Science & Technology’ or ‘Blogs & Blogging’ category. My ‘Environmental Philosophy’ posts often encroach into ‘Politics and Economics’. And do my book summaries (they’re not really reviews) that include my own rambling perspectives belong in ‘Arts & Literature’ or (since the books are often political) in ‘Politics & Economics’ ? Such is the nature of taxonomy, and it points out the futility of the efforts and dreams of some bloggers to create some kind of universal ontology or taxonomy around the whole blogosphere. Won’t work, guys. Learn to appreciate complexity. That’s why Google still rules.

This post is to let my patient readers know where I think I’m going with How to Save the World. About a month ago I listed topics I was thinking of writing about, and asked for advice on priorities. Based on your preferences, I wrote eight articles, and gave up after zealous false starts on a few others (the argument for decentralization of business, for example, is something that interests me but is a nightmare to articulate or even make a compelling case for, as decentralized businesses seem to be struggling more than most these days).

I’ve decided it’s time to make a start on my book, tentatively called The World That Could Be. It will likely consist of a 100 page novella about a Utopian future (a dramatized version of what consultants call a Future State or what change managers now call an Invented Story), followed by a roughly 50-page quasi-‘Instruction Book’ (drawing from several of my ‘signature’ ‘Environmental Philosophy’ posts on New Collaborative Enterprises and Post-Capitalist Economics) explaining how that Utopian state might practicably be reached. No more preaching environmental philosophy, it’s time for vision and action. If you’re going to dream, dream big.

I’m also going to put some structure around the Social Network Enablement and Social Software posts in my ‘Business Papers’ category, drawing about ten articles (some still to come) into a logical series. I have already granted two universities and a magazine permission to republish them, so it’s clearly time to organize them into something cohesive.

Business Innovation and Knowledge Management, two other major threads of my ‘Business Papers’ category, will continue to have irregular but lengthy posts. There is much being written on these subjects, but, from what I can glean, precious little actually being implemented. I was recently credited as an ‘Idea Practitioner’ in Davenport and Prusak’s new book What’s The Big Idea, and have been invited to participate in a KM study for the European Commission, but haven’t blogged on either because, damn it, I want to proffer practical advice that business can actually use, and there’s far too little of that going around.

Now that my first stab at co-editing VO is complete, new ‘Creative Works’ will probably await news of whether my short story The Box has been accepted for publication. The latest issue of the literary journal to which I submitted it has been mysteriously delayed. But to show I bear no grudge, I will promote the journal as soon as it comes out even if it is Box-less. That might get me writing fiction again, either way. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m no quitter. In any case look for more articles on the writer’s art. Those who can’t do, teach.

I have quietly been building a website for my high school graduating class (1969, yes, I’m ancient) in an invisible category of How to Save the World, and am contemplating setting up another, more visible one for Salon bloggers’ recipes, if there is interest. Is there?

My ‘Blogs & Blogging’ category has always been inexplicably popular, so if I can figure out anything new and intelligent to say on that subject, I will post more. Ideas are welcome.

As for ‘Politics & Economics’, I’m discouraged. There are some very fine political writers in the blogosphere (my blogroll has more political bloggers than any other category, too many in fact to keep up with). Being a Canadian, I feel out of the loop and completely unable to understand the continuing popularity of Bush. All that hasn’t stopped me from expressing my uninformed and clumsy political opinions thus far, but you’ll notice I’ve been more coy recently. There are others that simply do a better job of it than I, including quite a few of the Salon bloggers on my blogroll at left. My hat goes off to you, for your skill, your passion, and your dedication to the vital task of ridding America and the world of the undeserving and dangerous idiot who stole your highest office.

Filling in the spaces, especially on weekends, will be shorter, lighter fare, on whatever takes my fancy — travel, science, literature, film, music, photographs, and educational and whimsical posts on important subjects like ecological taxation and being good to yourself, as well as other subjects I know just a little about, but hope to learn more about by exposing you, kind reader, to my endlessly staggering ignorance and unfathomable conceit. Thank you for your patience as I figure it out.

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  1. mark says:

    Yikes! Categories scare me. Much easier to dump everything into the same sludge pile and forget about it. Just call me emphemeral…

  2. fpatrick@focusedperformance.com says:

    Regarding your difficulties with categorization and the dilemma of whether something belongs in A or in B…Why not both?

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Mark: See, that all depends on your personal organizing style, and of course it has to be respected. Bet your desktop is something to behold ;-)Frank: That’s what I’m doing now, but I keep thinking that people that subscribe to only two of my categories and find duplicate posts will be unhappy with that. And the way Radio saves stuff, it takes up more space on the server, too.

  4. kara says:

    Love the content in your :environmental philosophy category. BTW – Have you read the textbook “Environmental Psychology”yet?

  5. Bart Vermeersch says:

    Check out facet classification, it will solve your taxonomy problem. I have no idea if there is any blog server supporting it.http://www.boxesandarrows.com/archives/ranganathan_for_ias.phphttp://iawiki.net/FacetedClassification

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    Kara: Thanks. As you may have ascertained from my blog, I’m not a big fan of psychology of any flavour. Tell me who the author is, and I’ll take a look though. If I don’t post as much on this while I work on the book, will that be a problem? Is there some aspect of my Environmental Philosophy that begs more elaboration?

  7. Dave Pollard says:

    Bart: The examples seem too simplistic, and I couldn’t get the self-test to work. I confess I’m skeptical — I’ve worked in this area a long time, and lots of things make sense in theory (natural language search engines in particular) but seem to fail the acid test when the subject matter gets very complex and maddeningly human ;-)

  8. kara says:

    Environmental PsychologyPaul A. Bell Andrew Baum, Jeffrey D. Fisher, Thomas C. GreeneGood Book!

  9. Fiona says:

    Have you read Ecotopia?

  10. Bart Vermeersch says:

    Dave: The faceted classification boils down to the fact that you can assign multiple categories to every information item. This solves the problem of creating categories which don’t overlap.It’s great for the user who wants to search something using categories because he doesn’t have to be afraid that he searched withing the wrong category.MT is already supporting multiple categories, although it’s not yet perfect.

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