Classifying Things

I think Calibre is an excellent application for managing your e-books.  It’s infinitely customizable (well, that might be a slight exaggeration), what with its copious plug-in options, but it also lets you alter plenty of things on your own.  For instance I created a yes/no metadata field for whether or not I’ve read a book.  It keeps things organized, or is at least just an interesting bit of information to be able to see.

But keeping things organized is important.  After all, I have over 250 books in my collection (all obtained through wholly legal means, I assure you.)  One of the more common ways to organize a collection like this is through tags (similar to how blog posts are classified by tags.)  As it is, I have two in my book collection: fiction and nonfiction.

Say what?!

Well, it’s tough to classify things.  I hate downloading these books (from a source such as Project Gutenberg) and seeing it loaded with all kinds of tags.  Where is the line drawn between “drama” and “romance?”  It seemed like all of the Jane Austen classics had both tags.  If all romance is dramatic, then doesn’t that make the additional distinction rather redundant?  What constitutes a “classic?”  What exactly is the distinction between science fiction and fantasy?

So I just simplified things.

I’ve also tried to apply a similar logic to my music collection.  Unfortunately, having just two genres seemed unrealistic.  Still, I see dance, techno, electronica, house, etc and I compress them down to merely “techno.”  But a lot of those are “pop,” too, aren’t they? What really separates “rock” from “alternative” rock?  And, like with books, what the heck constitutes “classic?”  Is it merely a function of age? I classify all soundtracks as “soundtrack,” which is rather misleading as a distinction of genre.  Danny Elfman’s Batman score is more akin to classical music (but not classic) than Mortal Kombat.

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