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

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6.4. Category Design Issues and Implications

We have previously discussed the most important principles for creating categories: resource properties, similarity, and goals. When we use one or more of these principles to develop a system of categories, we must make decisions about its depth and breadth. Here, we examine the idea that some levels of abstraction in a system of categories are more basic or natural than others. We also consider how the choices we make affect how we create the organizing system in the first place, and how they shape our interactions when we need to find some resources that are categorized in it.

6.4.1. Category Abstraction and Granularity

We can identify any resource as a unique instance or as a member of a class of resources. The size of this classthe number of resources that are treated as equivalentis determined by the properties or characteristics we consider when we examine the resources in some domain. The way we think of a resource domain depends on context and intent, so the same resource can be thought of abstractly in some situations and very concretely in others. As we discussed in Chapter 4, “Resource Description and Metadata, this influences the nature and extent of resource description, and as we have seen in this chapter, it then influences the nature and extent of categories we can create.

Consider the regular chore of putting away clean clothes. We can consider any item of clothing as just thata member of a broad category whose members ...

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