Competing on Context

original article

The matter with metadata: why are taxonomies still so taxing?
Natalie Guest
The Literary Platform
18 March 2016

When content escapes from its container, contextual metadata about the content drives its dynamic flexibility for use and re-use on the web.  But first impressions matter, so if that metadata is of lesser quality it may cast aspersions on the content it describes.  While the task of creating and relating quality metadata to fragments of published content is daunting, the author argues that the costs are justified and should lessen over time as new tools emerge to help smaller and mid-level publishers meet the demand.

It was nice to see the author highlight Brian O’Leary’s Context, Not Container in this brief post, as he gave a talk on this topic at the OCLC Research Library Partners FutureCast meeting in 2011.  Strong echoes of the daunting challenges and hopeful prospects that libraries, archives and museums face as they continue to work towards moving from a world of records to a world of Linked Data can be heard in this screencast of a similar presentation by Brian O’Leary at another event.  The idea of creating fragmented and inter-operable metadata in the publishing realm recalls some early work by OCLC Research on Recombinant Metadata, an idea that OCLC has continued to explore, most recently in a pilot test of a Person Entity Lookup service.


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