Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Ways To Organize Information

Thinking out load again. What are the ways to organize information?
  • The "Desktop" Model: This is the method i most frequently use. Put everything out where you can see it, or at least where you can see something on top of it. I guess the layout of windows within an app could count here as well. This works well but doesn't scale.
  • List/Table: Either static or sortable, as with Excel. It's surprising how hard this can be to find on the internet now. Most UIs provide searchable content, so they dispense with browsable lists. Think stock prices.
  • Hierarchy: File systems, any of the folder-in-folder paradigms. Bookmarks.
  • Address: I'm not quite sure about this, but i'm adding it because i can't think of a better way to describe the structure of the web. I suppose you could think of this as a specialized index, or a hierarchy (TLD->site->page->anchor).
  • Category: Associating with keywords or multi-word categories. Different than hierarchy because there's no parent-child relationship. Categories are nice because they're fundamentally many-many. This is the model of
  • Index: I'm thinking of the automated process of associating elements of content with a larger document. The information retrieval index. Google.
  • Alphabetical: I suppose this is really just a qualifier of other organization types (list, table, hierarchy,index).
  • Temporally?: Like a history list. I'm not sure if this is unique or just a variety of hierarchy. This might also include Gantt charts or simple time-lines.
  • Stored Query: By this i mean storing the query that's used to retrieve certain types of info so that you can re-run the query and get an updated set of info. I'm not sure if there's a non-computer analog to this.
  • Cluster: Grouping of items by algorithmically inferred similarities. Probably just a special case of category or hierarchy.
  • Mixture: I think all of these modes can be combined.
I'm sure somebody has produced a scholarly work with a complete taxonomy.

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