Adult 641, Reflection Five

META Organization on the web

When I started the reading for last week’s class, I thought, this is something I already know about and use all the time and didn’t give it much thought. But even reading the Wikipedia entries gave me more to think about and search.

In the Wiki entry on tags, the word “metadata” was next to it in parentheses. It is essentially “data about data content” or “content about content” according to Wiki. Wikipedia even has its own metadata page.

There’s also a data warehouse, which is a database for storing and retrieving data. This is not to be confused with data mart, or the accessible layer of a data warehouse. I went in a data-hole while reading this stuff, and it’s essentially a series of vocabulary used to describe every single aspect of web data. I had to pull myself away.

I can see how metadata can be useful–like the cloud of tags from the flickr website, people (and computers, presumably) can analyze data on the web easier in tags; otherwise, there is too much information. Having everything in small, precise bits allows people to find patterns and what is popular. It’s like the best information for ad agencies and marketing folks.

Of course, context is everything and knowing just the tags doesn’t give the full story. For instance, there is always user error. I found it funny that one of the tags in the cloud on flickr was “san.” On flickr (and many other sites), to make a tag two words you have to put it in quotes. The intention of “San” could have been “San Francisco” or “San Jose,” but it is impossible to tell to due to user error. The most accurate information is lost.

Here is the tag cloud from my own TV blog because it’s hilarious.


7 thoughts on “Adult 641, Reflection Five

  1. I love your new blog layout!!! That cover photo is amazing. Did you take it yourself? Great post. I am about to explore your links in a bit more detail– will let you know if I descend into a data hole and can’t find my way out. 🙂

    • Yes I took it–thank you! I’m still futzing with colors and layout since Joanne just went above and beyond all of us. I think using this blog to market ourselves in our job hunts is such a great thought.

      I enjoy using these blogs as a way to share personal searches down weird rabbit holes. 😉

  2. Easy with the “marketing folks” comments! LOL… I rather like the mystique of the web, and while I applaud your curiosity to seek out more about the meta-nature of it, I will probably not follow suit. I do, however, completely agree with your comment about context. I think my new bff Jaron Lanier would, too. He writes, “The deep meaning of personhood is being reduced by illusions of bits.”

    • I have nothing against marketing people! I think the whole thing is FASCINATING. Learning where data can be pulled for research and marketing is awesome.

      I’m glad you have developed such a close friendship with Jaron. He sounds swell.

  3. I am interested in hearing what Joanne thinks about Lanier’s work. I do wonder how many “real” folks out there actually perceive themselves as gadgets? I know that we are consumed with the collection of data, we spend an inordinate amount of time using and thinking about technology and the net. When I begin to chat with people of varying ages about this class, I do find that the world that we live in is rather insulated. Sometime I feel like I am in a very small portion of the Venn diagram of life between those who live in “Netland” and those who do not. I am glad to have mediums such as blogging and twitter for a small component of my life, however, I wish that this section of the diagram was broader…in time…in time!

  4. Mel, you continue to challenge me with the depth of your understanding of “tagging”, “meta data”, etc. Thanks to your links, I did gain some understanding of the distinction between data warehouses and data marts – thanks! It’s all pretty new to me and although I am recognizing the utility of it, I find it time consuming to make the applications. Little by little . . . step by step . . . I’m just curious -how and when did you get into all the social media stuff and really begin to put it all together? Obviously, your knowledge is more than classroom derived – more personal experience and practice. What was the attraction for you?

  5. How is it that I am not following your blog on my RSS feed yet!!! Your posts are always so interesting, reflective, and fun to read! Our conversation on “Meta” has continued (in my head at least) for the entire past week and to see the different metadata resources on the web just perpetuated that conversation. Remind me to dig myself out of the rabbit-hole (read: data-hole) one of these days…

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