In reviewing my Web Mastery bookmarks I came across this piece from Clay Shirky about how heirarchical categorization schemes are old and busted, and links and tags are the new hotness. Far be it from me to contradict such a net.legend as he on a point that in retrospect seems clear. Heirarchical categorization does have its weaknesses, and the new ways have spread rapidly and widely across the Internet.
On the other hand I’ve just come up with a heirarchical classification scheme for resources and concepts of Web Mastery, so I want to push back toward the heirarchy end of things a little bit, and away from the formless tags created by armies of amateurs.
Shirky acknowledges that heirarchies have their places, but he misses one of those places. I want my Web Mastery resources to be more than a passive collection of resources, waiting for their searcher to come and follow them. I want them to be more of a set of instructions: this is how you become a master of the web. For that, a mass of links is not good enough: it needs a story attached to it, and in the telling of that story, a heirarchical organization may have a valuable place.
So a heirarchy tells us more about the organizer than the data? Not a problem — I am trying to put my stamp on this. I am assuming the role not of God but of Teacher. I am not imposing this heirarchy but suggesting it. Here is my way of organizing this stuff. Do you like it? Or not? Talk to me. or ignore me. Your choice.