2 Responses to Smart Digital Books Metadata Notes #3

  1. laura says:

    I think these observations are fundamental.

    The sheer volume of what you’re talking about makes it clear to me that (contrary what might be assumed from your screenshot) user-generated metadata can realistically only be small part of what is needed, unless of course we consider generation of metadata to be a collective activity, like Wikipedia for smart book metadata. Still, I think it argues for machine understanding to create a large fraction of the necessary metadata.

    I am aware of an equivalent today related to the descriptions of audio/video content. Even without the kind of extensive linking you imply, identifying relationships between content in large media libraries is today not manageable without extensive computer assistance.

    The example of user-contributed metadata linking (which I suspect is not randomly chosen) also brings up several important questions like: What distinction, if any, is made between metadata and annotations? My guess is that a good fraction of metadata might be even generated after the work’s publication. Should we make a distinction between metadata furnished by the publisher and metadata added afterwards? What about the authority of the metadata? And how can I make sure that I don’t get distracted by metadata I don’t care about? How do I refer to a particular passage to attach the metadata there, and not to the whole work, for example?

    The list of questions is long. I’m sure librarians have already answered many of them, and I know that some of the basic technologies and protocols for semantic web applications are applicable here.

    What I find striking is the gap between the communities that are thinking about these aspects and the businesses that are trying to capture short term beachhead without giving a thought to them.

  2. Mike Cane says:

    All excellent questions for which there might or might not be answers. I never said it would be simple, only that it'd be better than the scam being perpetrated today.

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