Tuesday, March 15, 2011
What is this whole idea of metadata? We've heard this term thrown around in multiple occasions from the textbook to the classroom, but what does it actual mean and how does it function? Metadata is essentially data about other data, which is used to describe the content of the information. We use and interact with metadata on a daily basis whether we realize it or not. Try and think of some instances when we rely on this to find out information. How about documents? We save pictures as jpegs and websites as htmls. That information classifies the source of the data that we saved in a certain location for future reference. What about a few more common examples? Itunes utilizes metadata. While searching for a song you forgot about long ago, you can narrow your results down by genre, album, and artist; all data describing a bigger more general content. Even search engines utilize metadata. We use keywords to look for a broader article or other related piece of information. But how do we know that what we're searching for is going to give us what we want: the most relevant and pertinent information with the least hassle of finding it. As other people tag information that they deem important, more and more people might view the information and see its relevance and recommend it as well through tagging and other forms of sharing. The Internet gives us information that the masses have come to some sort of informal agreement upon in the fact that it is seen as relevant and important. But can we trust the thoughts and opinions of others? Just because one person thinks an article is good for a certain area doesn't mean it's good for another, even though it may still pertain to it. And can we boil an entire article to a single tag or even few key terms? I don't have the answer to that, but there isn't a right or wrong. Even as I write this article, I am looking at the label box, thinking what key terms can really sum up this post. It's interesting to think about, and next time you search for information via web or other source, trying to think of the best keyword(s) can save you time and hone your search in on the information that you're looking for helping you weed through the abundance of garbage and other irrelevant information.