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.