On fonts, lists, and weblog structure

Janne’s always-excellent Kuutio has moved. No links are broken, but the old site is still up and there’s no forwarding.

Via Kuutio: Fontleech, a weblog for free fonts, and some recommendations on free fonts that all designers should have, Vera and Libertine. This is a topic that has crossed my mind often, and Janne whistfully says that it’d be nice (if he had time) to upkeep a list of must-have typefaces.

While on the topic of keeping comprehensive lists, I will now meander into a little talk about weblogs, a favorite subject matter of oldtimer-bloggers everywhere.

One of my principles of running a weblog is to collect, in atomic entries, items that could be collected later into a list of resources. While categorization is one way of providing this kind of structure, it generally fails due to the difficulties of using categories in the first place. In my own blogging system I also use a freeform textfield called “topics”, in which is meant to tie entries together by other factors than their topic.

For example, when I was importing old posts into Fathom this, I noticed I had many posts in which I mused about Sunday evenings. Now, Sunday evenings is not something I would give its own category, but it is a topic I had returned to several times, and might do so again. How then, to connect each post without manually linking to each one? Topical keywords.

While I do have a tool that shows me all my existing topical keywords, I decided when I was designing the system that I’d leave the field as open-ended as possible. I hoped it’d allow me to accidentally create unexpected connections and complementary two-way links between entries of superficially irrelevant nature.

My excitement over topical keywords has so far proven unfounded — I have the same problems with keywords as I do with categories. How many keywords should I assign? What should they be based on? Feelings, moods, people, places? General or specific topics? Some of the problems of categorization go away with keywords, but others arise.

Tags have created a big stir lately in blogland. I like the idea. What I would really like to see would be open ontologies to map different tags together. And then I want automatic categorization. CS (that’s computer science, not Counterstrike) gods, do you hear me?

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