Five questions to ask before organizing anything

 Robert Glushko, the editor of the new book The Discipline of Organizing, tries to pave common academic ground regarding information organization and information retrieval among disparate disciplines such as library science, information science and computer science. Because the fundamental idea behind information management similar across disciplines, Glushko strives to transcend academic silos by creating a jargon-free methodology to talk about organizing things.

Put another way. (in the Boston Globe): Chris Wright writes in a semi-profile of Gushko/semi-book review of The Discipline of Organizing: "At the heart of Glushko’s book is a quest to break the pieces of our lives down into their constituent parts; how you do that represents a kind of worldview."

From a piece Glushko just published (pdf) in the Bulletin of the Association of Information Science and Technology: 

Library and information science, informatics, computer science and other fields focus on the characteristic types of resources and collections that define those disciplines. This focus spawns disciplinary and domain specific vocabulary that makes it challenging to apply concepts, methods and insights across disciplines.
In contrast, the fundamental premise of the discipline of organizing is that the diverse perspectives and concepts about organizing from its feeder disciplines can be subsumed and synthesized under a more abstract framework. [The Discipline of Organizing] TDO complements the focus on specific resource and collection types with a framework that views organizing systems as existing in a multi-dimensional design space in which we consider many types of resources at the same time and see the relationships among them. TDO introduces five types of design decisions, phrased in generic language to emphasize their broad applicability:
  • What is being organized?
  • Why is it being organized?
  • How much is it being organized?
  • When is it being organized?
  • By what means is it being organized?