Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The cost of Classification

Rather interesting article re: faceted classification: The Cognitive Cost of Classification.

There are three related reasons I see for this imbalance between invested mental effort and perceived return:
1) Classification is hard work. The benefit of assigning a single term is small—good classification effort requires ongoing consistent diligence to pay off. There’s only marginal benefit in classifying a single document with a single term.
2) People discount the future. Saving current effort spent on diligent classification is better than saving future effort in easier document findability.
3) Classification benefits the group more than the individual. An individual can have an arbitrary method of organizing the information they create, and still have good success in finding it later—but to access that same content others rely on the guidance of a shared classification.

Read on if you're interested how social software can suppoprt smart tagging and improve the findability of information. It's the first step towards solving the metacrap problem!


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