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Extending the metaphor (to the point of breaking)

A long time ago, David Weinberger wrote that, in our practice of categorization, we’re moving from trees to leaves — this was a way to distinguish monolithic singular hierarchies from what’s happening with tagging and folksonomies.

David cites Peter’s response, which can be found in his new book Ambient Findability. Peter originally shared this view with us at the IA Summit in 2005, as written about by Gene:

Peter Morville responded to the quote by saying (this is paraphrased):

And we know what happens to leaves when we rake them together. They rot. And become food for new trees.

And at the beginning the his presentation Peter Merholz said (again, paraphrased):

And sometimes the trees get really big and block out the light and kill off everything on the ground. So you have to chop the trees down.

As David was getting the meme sent around again, I thought it worthwhile to point to Gene’s post on the subject.