> Security measures can be set in place to prevent
> the scenario you describe.

Is the state of Minnesota or the city of Minneapolis able to copyright
its work? Certainly this is impossible on the Federal level. But state
laws vary. What would a FOIA request produce?

> Tagging systems (or pop culture cataloging) such as those
> used by were consciously or unconsciously
> inspired by Berman's work,

I don't think that's so. As the inventor of the first such system for
books, I can say that I was not inspired by Berman's work, impressive
as I now know it to be. Nor I suspect was Joshua Schachter, who
designed tagging for

It is an unfortunate fact that information technology has largely
bypassed librarianship. One reason for this is that librarians have
convinced themelves that their work should not be public—that the
taxpayer-funded work of a public library should be kept under
restrictive terms.

> but although they are dynamic
> and current, they are simplisitic and undisciplined...we've
> got a sort of highly personalized marginally literate chaos
> where 5 people can all tag the same item differently
> and the sixth person who may search for that item may not search for it
> using any of the tags the previous 5 assigned.

Do you speak from any experience in this topic? For example, have you
compared systems in reality, or is this just a theoretical opinion
about reality?

I don't think "marginally literate" applies to LibraryThing's tagging,
generally. Nor do I think LibraryThing's 37 million tags are more
likely to yield no hits than one man's subject system. Anyway, if
regular human beings are simplistic and undisciplined when they tag
things, they are also so when they search for them.

I think there is a place for both formal subject systems—and the more
the better—and informal tagging systems. Having spent a few years
carefully comparing the results, however, and seeing many success, I
am weary of those who, to paraphrase Clay Shirky, refuse to see it
working in practice, because they already know it doesn't work in

> Berman's system is dynamic and current but also
> finely, structured and highly disciplined, he's
> created a great cognitive map of interconnected
> associations that bring order to chaos and clarifies
> and defines issues evolving in the culture...

> you could say a good search engine does that
> but his brain worked and still works in a more
> exquisitely sophisticated and powerful way than
> any search engine I've used.

I appreciate that you admire the man, but this is an almost mystical idea.

> As to someone using his work for profit...get real
> no one besides ourselves has a clue
> to the value and usefulness of Berman's work,
> and they don't care to find out...and they
> certainly would not make the effort to
> deconstruct it and turn it into a Twitter
> version of a catalog, especially since
> they can't profit from it.

I consider that a challenge!

> There's no monetary gold to be harvested from
> Berman's work...there's treasure of another
> kind!

It seems to me that any system useful for finding things has value of
every sort imaginable, including financial.