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The Discipline of Organizing: Core Concepts Edition, 3rd Edition by Robert J. Glushko

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1.3. Design Decisions in Organizing Systems

A set of resources is transformed by an Organizing System when the resources are described or arranged to enable interactions with them. Explicitly or by default, this requires many interdependent decisions about the identities of resources; their names, descriptions and other properties; the classes, relations, structures and collections in which they participate; and the people or technologies interacting with them.

One important contribution of the idea of the Organizing System is that it moves beyond the debate about the definitions of “things,” “documents,” and “information,” with the unifying concept of “resource” while acknowledging that “what is being organized” is just one of the questions or dimensions that need to be considered. These decisions are deeply intertwined, but it is easier to introduce them as if they were independent.

We introduce six groups of design questions, itemizing the most important dimensions in each group:

  • What is being organized? What is the scope and scale of the domain? What is the mixture of physical things, digital things, and information about things in the Organizing System? Is the Organizing System being designed to create a new resource collection, catalog an existing and closed resource collection, or manage a collection in which resources are continually added or deleted? Are the resources unique, or are they interchangeable members of a category? Do they follow a predictable “life cycle” with ...

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