Reading about metadata, as one does, and slightly disappointed to find three articles in a row that describe metadata as ‘difficult’ and ‘obtuse’. This is just a short post to challenge such assumptions, and also to outline why ‘data about data’ is not a helpful description.
Firstly, metadata as difficult and obtuse. We live in a stage of capitalism that is very much driven by high levels of technical infrastructure and technical investment. Just about every form of production – farming, engineering, furniture making, medical research, manufacturing – are dependent on technologies. The global communication network of television, radio, the internet, telephony is a social and technical creation. Yes, there still are hand-craft productions and subsistence farming; but these are not the dominant mode of production. This entire system of production, consumption, distribution and communication is reliant on information to make it work. Engineers need information in the form of specifications to build things; farmers need information about crop types and yeilds, weather patterns, prices and so on. Manufacturers need information about investment, competitors, markets. Raising the bar slightly and insisting on good information therefore shouldn’t be too much of a big deal.
Then we have the internet and something called ‘the semantic web’. You know, I have never understood what this is supposed to mean; David Crystal in his keynote speech at the recent ISKO conference made a good joke about it and I will dig it out from the conference website and reports.
Continues @ http://www.artofgov.com/2009/07/16/meta-data/