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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Cultural immersion (was Re: [Sigia-l] Re: Blasphemy: Ontology is Overrated?

Cultural immersion (was Re: [Sigia-l] Re: Blasphemy: Ontology is Overrated?

From: Andrew Boyd (
Date: Mon May 16 2005 - 14:22:05 EDT

Hi Katherine,

I'm not sure what the correct term is for what you have done, but
'cultural immersion' springs to mind. I like it. I've done the same.
Working within the Defence/Intelligence community meant more to me than
reading Le Carre and Clancy and wearing a trenchcoat, it meant taking an
interest in cryptology, communications technology, remote systems, and
heterogenous data exchange. From a philosophical viewpoint, I believe
that it is not worth doing something that you can't immerse 100% in.
Like the hippies say... "If you can't do it with love, don't do it, man!" :)

I know that the anthropologists have debated this point to death, so I
won't rabbit on about it, just say "Better to be in than out".

Cheers, Andrew

Katherine Bertolucci wrote:

>Hi Everyone --
>As someone who designs taxonomies from the client's perspective, I
>appreciated Samantha's comment that even people who think alike may use
>different vocabularies. Also enjoyed Peter's succinct analysis of the issue
>as "the false dichotomy of tagging and classification."
>Before Ziya starts trawling the Mendocino spas for new clients, we should
>set the record straight. The geothermal gig was in downtown Oakland, with a
>couple of journeys into the Nevada desert near Burning Man. I went to the
>hot springs on my own time and at my own expense. That's one of the ways to
>think like your client -- make their subject your hobby.
>The hot springs are the primo example, but there are many ways to absorb
>your client's culture. When I designed an AIDS taxonomy for the Alameda
>County Health Department, I attended a full showing of the AIDS Quilt, read
>"And the Band Played On," and watched Whoopie Goldberg's safe sex videos,
>all on my own time. Whale watching along California's central coast was a
>big help for a cetacean and marine mammal taxonomy. Also watched sea otters
>from a cliff at Big Sur.
>When you think like your client, you become as interested in their topic as
>they are. They get a customized taxonomy and you get new knowledge.

Andrew Boyd 
Business Development Manager
Daily Basis P/L
Phone 02 6282 9797 or 02 4885 1357
Mobile 0412 641 074
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