According to the bookshelf blog, the Adobe Bookstore in San Fran will organize it’s entire collection by color. (for a week)
Eric, as I recall, does something similar with his books. He adds a secondary category of size. This way you could ask for the “green book that’s this big”. If you’re a visual person who’s got a lot of design books, this system makes a lot of sense.
On the other hand, K organizes her books first by category: philosophy, fiction, poetry, art, then by date of original publication. Which, when you see them on the shelves, especially in the philosophy section, is really awesome. You begin to get a sense of who was thinking what when. And when you ask a question like “why didn’t Descartes think of this or that”, you realize that that book comes farther down the line.
I guess a little of the computer scientist in me has bubbled up. I think it’s because I’m spending a lot of time looking at data visualization techniques these days. Really great visualizations allow you to ask questions you not only didn’t have the answer to, you didn’t think of asking. Oh, and they look pretty too.
Anyway, my system of organization is a stack. The top of the stack are things I’m reading; the bottom of the stack are things I need to store.
That and the internet. A lot of what I own is digital. My coworkers described digital organization as having only two possibilities in the WIMPS (Windows Icons Mouse Pointer) model. Either you’re the type of person who organizes everything into folders. Or you have a desktop with everything on it. But in both modes people use the space of the screen to remember where things are. Trash bin’s always in the top left. My personal files are in the lower right. There’s a number of new systems which take advantage of spatial and bodily memory to organize things, but they haven’t hit the software I use yet. Which I why I need to write my own version of Google Reader. (Ahem, weekend project.)