I recently received David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder and was excited. A great deal of my present work surrounds understanding metadata, and the implications that it has for the reconstitution of knowledge and reordering of political association. Imagine my surprise when I quickly found that Weinberger fails to perform a substantive investigation of the role of metadata in the reconstitution of knowledge and society, in book that emphasizes metadata’s role! At most, he skims the surface of what metadata can affect, glossing over specifics most of the time in favor of generalizations and limited references to Greek philosophers. After you’ve read the first 30-40 pages, the only thing you really have to look forward to are (a) a few interesting discussions about blogging, tagging, and the challenges in monetizing past modes of organizing data in comparison to digital metadata-based information-associations; (b) the end, when you can put the book away or give it to someone you aren’t terribly keen about.
While there are a handful of interesting parts in the book (in particular 2-3 pages on tagging data, and the beginning discussion between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order data might be a useful conceptual device) I was grossly unimpressed with it on the whole. For a better read and more useful investment of reading time, turn to Negroponte, Sunstein, Lessig, or even Erik Davis. Alternately, just go to Wired’s website and spend the couple hours reading the free articles there that you’d otherwise be spending reading this book. I can almost guarantee your time at Wired will be better spent.
How do I rate it? 1/5 stars.