Metacrap by Cory Doctorow
Great read! Unfortunately it is kind of true…
Metadata is data about data, and (on a very basic level) it is encoded in documents and web pages to make them searchable. But there are some problems inherent in metadata creation.
- People lie for their own benefit (to get you to read their stuff/ buy their product)
- People are lazy (guilty on this one)
- People are stupid (spelling, punctuation, grammar)
- People don’t know themselves
- Schemas aren’t neutral – competing interests
- Metrics influence results
- There’s more than one way to describe something
Alas, Meta-utopia doesn’t exist, and info-ninjas can’t fix J. Random User’s mistakes.
Doctorow argues that Google’s use of implicit metadata, how many links point to a page and who linked it, is more reliable than human created metadata. It seems to me that good metadata would beat Google any day.