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Tag: hierarchical classification

Organizing your library

I finally managed to organize all my printed articles into folders. Quite a tedious task, but maybe worth sharing my experience in more detail. First the background and the objective: I had probably around 400 printed journal articles, kind of sorted into piles and lying around my office threatening slowly to engulf me. The articles had accumulated over the last few years and featured both rather extensive collections on well-defined topics (like policy responsiveness) and scattered individual pieces that I liked for some reason on topics I mostly  don’t keep track on (like regime collapse).  Obviously, I would want the articles organized  into folders so that 1) they look neat, 2) I have quick access when I need them, and 3) I am able to do quick surveys of particular topics. The solution I opted  for is organizing the articles into approximately 30 topics and, within each topic, alphabetically.  The more common way of using only alphabetical  ordering doesn’t work well for libraries without a catalog because you need to remember the author of an article in order to find it.  And making and keeping a catalog would be too tedious. Unfortunately, one cannot rely on tags to organize  physical objects like printed  texts. Discovering tags (as used in blogs for example) has been a real revelation for me and  my efforts to put order to the world around me. Tags out-compete hierarchical classification any time. But for my folders,  I had to settle for non-overlapping classification into a small number…