• working/reading

    I am reading through 'both ways' literature of Yolngu and non-Yolngu working their knowledge systems together. Alongside I am reading Lorraine Code's 2006 book Ecological Thinking. I am also browsing through blogs and discussions on knowledge work and community development.
  • About this Blog

    Here I post some of my work and thinking. It is a much harder task than I thought! It is an extension of my research on knowledge and difference connecting my experiences, reflections, formal written pieces, and hopefully friends and colleagues. As work and self cannot be separate this blog is both personal and intellectual. Comments are moderated because, while it is a site for collective work, it is not anonymous.
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New Blog

This blog is not longer being used: it has been moved to www.christianclark.net

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Tagging, Classification and Delicious

While I am aware of the problems of using tags as a form of standardized categorization (see the discussion here and more below) I have begun a Delicious page. Delicious is a way of keeping and tagging your bookmarks online. I saw one great page that had used Delicious to share a reference lists of online resources and this is what inspired me to have one. So, I am using Delicious to share what I have come across that is interesting during my research. By going to http://delicious.com/christianjclark you can see all the webpages I bookmark and read regularly and on the right you can sort them by tags such as research, news, indigenous.

One problem with Delicious is that it takes spaces ‘ ’ in a string of text as what distinguishes one tag from another. So “indigenous research” becomes tagged as ‘indigenous’ and ‘research’, and “science and technology studies” becomes tagged as ‘science’ ‘and’ ‘technology’ ‘studies’. Hence the grammar of tags does not preserve word order, which is not so good for those of us who work in English. One way to understand this is that it is a consequence of categorization purifying an entity to the smallest possible bits, just enough to give it names and then reifying these names as a categories. Hence, we are left with many residual relationships of what cannot be categorized, possibly because an entity is relational or complex, not discrete or simple. I was reminded of much of this in some wonderful presentation by Susan Leigh Star and Geof Bower at the Teaching From Country Seminar last month (see Star and Bowker’s book “Sorting Things Out” for more on classification and categorization).

For me, and others, Indigenous Research has particular and problematic meanings (ones I am still struggling with and won’t go into here but see Michael Christie’s “Transdisciplinary Research and Aboriginal Knowledge”). When Indigenous Research becomes tagged as ‘indigenous’ ‘research’ (at least here word order is preserved as alphabetical order) the multiplicity of meanings and their contestation can be lost and results in essentializing both ‘indigenous’ and ‘research’. This may result in, for example, any research done by someone who identifies as indigenous classified as ‘indigenous’ ‘research’ even if there is no consideration of Indigenous knowledge or methodologies. This is neither good nor bad, but it shows the power of classification which needs to be remembered along with the meaning that don’t fit.

So using Delicious is a project of both using and interrogating tags, online knowledge management, and collaboration. Let me know what you think.