Brave New Metadata World

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=metadata&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cmetadata%3B%2Cc0

If you’ve never used Google Ngram viewer, it’s a fantastic way to visualize trends in society reflected through the many, many books that google has digitized. In particular interest is the search above for metadata reveals how recent and how rapidly this has come into widespread usage.

I find it just fascinating to be on the frontier of this phenomenon,

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The Semantic Crowd

http://scholarship20.blogspot.com/2014/02/pundit-semantically-structured.html

I really liked the ideas behind Pundit, which allows user-generated linking of semantic objects. This could potentially be a fantastic solution to provide semantic links between entities in large repositories of data, given the fact that it is hard for machines to currently interpret meaning from the text of materials nearly was well as humans can. Given the giant success of Wikipedia, I think this is a project on which to keep a close eye.

List-o-mania

The Future of Search

This blog discusses the blog post of another blog on the future of search over the next few decades.

While a little healthy speculation is just that – healthy. There was one part of the article that was genuinely bizarre to me.

That is that the author implied that search engines were 1) moving away from lists and 2) that this was a positive thing! The author mentioned that lists imply a ranking, even when they do not, but I cannot imagine a pile of data that is so large that it must be searched and that you do not want the results to be ranked. In my experience Google’s search ranking has been mindbogglingly outstanding given both the shear amount of data that it churns through and that millions of people are actively trying to sabotage it at the same time. I understand that sometimes innovation comes from looking for novel solutions, but I think this is a don’t reinvent the wheel type scenario.

Librarians as Consultants

http://www.cmswire.com/cms/digital-asset-management/how-local-librarians-can-impact-the-digital-asset-management-industry-022983.php

This article outlines the benefits that librarians could potentially offer companies that make use of DAMs in their business operations.

I have to say that I’m extremely skeptical of the logistics of this endeavor.  Would the librarian be a contractor or a consultant? If so, the librarian would have to sell him or herself past the very firmly standing stereotype that librarians are the ones behind the checkout counter books and issuing shushes. After that is the librarian doing this during normal work hours? If yes, then this activity has to be sanctioned by the body that controls the library and I don’t see a city government condoning the use of this time. Furthermore, if a librarian was to break off from their library and contract out this kind of work, is it meaningful to call them a librarian still?

DRY

http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/the_big_idea/examples.php

As I was reading the explanation for learning objects, I realized that this was a concept that I am actually already familiar with. Many programming languages today are called object oriented. What this means relative to learning objects is that if your program needed to run the same set of operations multiple times, you shouldn’t write those operations from scratch each time, but rather write a method that runs through those operations each time that it is called.  This is sometimes called DRY, or Don’t Repeat Yourself. Which seems to be the basic idea behind learning objects. This has many benefits, most of all the reduction in duplication of error.

Metadata saves the day

My coursemate recently made a post about Exif metadata being used to help locate the recently missing Malaysian flight.

Look back on my social media activity, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had a certain amount of cynicism over the use of metadata my society at large. (Librarians would never use their power for evil, of course!) I  think that this is demonstrative of the benefits of following professional blogs – it’s important not to build your own echo chamber.

Metadata rights

My coursemate recently posted a blog on UA’s legal team cracking down on a local painter.

Organizations tend to have their hand forced in this issue due to not wanting to set a precedent for ignoring copyright infringement and thus weakening their trademark.  Although many people violate these rules frequently, knowingly or unknowingly, and are saved due to them being a small blip on the radar.

This is starting to change thanks to metadata though, companies are now able to search automatically for items that violate their copyright. It’s not uncommon now to find a youtube video with the sound disabled to due a copyright claim – valid or not.

What do you guys thing, is this too much, or do companies have a right to do this?

Screencasting is a Performance Art

On a follow LS566er’s blog the discussion of screencasting was brought up.

Mostly how much harder it is to do than it is to seem.  I think this is mostly because rather than an academic exercise, it is first and foremost a performance art.  To become good at a performing there is only one thing you can do: perform. Everything else is accessory. I had a music professor tell me that if we were not bound by structures that worked well for academic classes that there would only be three courses in the department: theory, lessons, and class gig!

My coursemate recently made a post in his blog about wishing for perfection metadata.

During my time as a music student we learned that one of the worst things that you can do is over think while you’re performing. We called this paralysis by analysis. But musicians actually do spend vast amounts of time on analysis, but the important thing is that this period of decision-making happens ideally before the performance.

In the same way, describing resources could be approached the same way. The metadata guidelines should be carefully set, but realistically during the actual cataloging there is only so much that time that can be realistically devoted to those fields which require the most care, such as description. If you had 56,000 digital images, like my last job, and it takes your metadata specialist half an hour to write the description field you’ve spent 700 work weeks of time on the project and hundreds of thousands of dollars just to fill the subject field of these entities.

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

My coursemate recently made a post in his blog about wishing for perfection metadata.

During my time as a music student we learned that one of the worst things that you can do is over think while you’re performing. We called this paralysis by analysis. But musicians actually do spend vast amounts of time on analysis, but the important thing is that this period of decision-making happens ideally before the performance.

In the same way, describing resources could be approached the same way. The metadata guidelines should be carefully set, but realistically during the actual cataloging there is only so much that time that can be realistically devoted to those fields which require the most care, such as description. If you had 56,000 digital images, like my last job, and it takes your metadata specialist half an hour to write the description field you’ve spent 700 work weeks of time on the project and hundreds of thousands of dollars just to fill the subject field of these entities.