Category Archives: Articles

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then…

I found the examination of image analysis helpful going into our discussion of what elements to keep for the image collection. I feel like two area examined were already something we have considered – namely “Levels of Analysis” and “Vocabulary” control. The other area of examination “The focus on relationships, processes” struck me as pertinent and unnoticed until I read this article. Quite simply it states that many instances of images derive their “aboutness” meaning not simply from the objects or subjects pictured, but from the relationship the two objects have between one another. In the example given in the article the picture considered is a stork carrying a baby elephant. Separate they have meaning, but the meaning they carry together and then the meaning is only understood culturally. Ins electing which elements to keep and those to dispose of it seem pertinent then that we consider all the information users would need to have for the correct contextual understanding of the image.

A Massive Social Experiment On You Is Under Way, And You Will Love It

I read this article in a recent issue of Forbes magazine. It discusses speaker manufacturer Jawbone and their foray into wearable technology. Their product line includes a wrist device that tracks the user producing information on steps taken and sleep patterns. Analyzing the collected data the company was able to determine it’s accuracy sufficient and started directing guidance to individual users to change their behavior patterns. The article goes on further to discuss the immense amount of resource put into studying behavior in an attempt at creating the most optimal design for the desired user behavior. In the previous post I was looking at the author railed on about the potential thought police/Big Brother effect of the government potentially using collected metadata to attempt to predict behavior, but big companies like Google are already doing this with the data freely given to them.

Controversial metadata laws to be debated in lower house

Here we have more news about the metadata political battle ongoing in Australia. I found it interesting that the cost for the program is described as $188 million to $319 million. This struck me because that is a huge gulf between already huge sums of money. Yet, again, no indication of how this data will be managed is given in detail other than to mention that passwords, PINs, et al will not be held by the telecommunication company which is tasked with retention of this data for a period of two years. In response it describes a campaign designed to attempt to flood the attorney general’s email inbox – ironic because this mimics a denial of service attack which is a commonly deployed illicit tactic. Further irony exists I think between the supposed reason for this measure – the prevention of cyber terrorism acts – and the fact that it creates a target for illicit groups in search of the information being retained for criminal reasons.

Building Controlled Vocabularies for Metadata Harmonization

I am transfixed with controlled vocabularies both their creation and their function. As such this overview was fascinating to me. Even a controlled vocabulary can become out of control, but the principles discussed here represent sound practice for this endeavor. I have made attempts at developing controlled vocabularies in the past and found this the most difficult task. Often I found myself becoming too specific and not, as a previous classmates blog post noted, maintaining a requisite level of ambiguity. I think this would be most difficult to achieve with digital preservation, particularly mass digitization at large scale.

A Research Library Based on the Historical Collections of the Internet Archive

I have always considered The Internet Archive to be a very interesting space on the web having first encountered it in the late 90s as an intrepid web exploring youth. This effort at Cornell which adapts their collections into a backed up and usable tool intrigued me because it is a prime example of what I think is a main concern with digital content. Digital content is quite easily produced, anyone at a computer terminal can create content in a matter of minutes. With such a low barrier to the creation of content the amount of content created is of course exponential. Essentially the problem becomes one of control – the content amasses so rapidly that there is scant time to provide proper curation and control, due to the sheer volume and also the various types, contexts, and topics which they span. An effort such as this at Cornell utilizes the aggregation and archival that The Internet Archive and its affiliates have established over the past nearly two decades of operation. I see this as a natural partnership for large scale cataloging of publicly created material. One entity to collect it in an organized manner and another entity to refine it into a usable resource that can be utilized beneficially. Without any order The Internet Archive is essentially a snapshot with no context, a piece of data with no metadata, which renders it almost worthless as a tool for study or research.


Abbott government’s metadata plan tipped to cost $300m

This article once again brings metadata into the news. In reading the latest about this situation in Australia I was struck wondering just how this data is kept and handled. The reported on political component of the issue seems to revolve around who will foot the bill for the effort of retaining the data (referred to as “the scheme”), but I failed to find information describing how this data would be handled. More importantly, who will be handling this data and what will be their qualifications? From the article it seems the decision of cost sharing is yet to be decided and does not directly mention who will be handling the data. Presumably the Australian government is requiring companies to employ and train individuals to be caretakers of this information. Given the current climate of hostile data breaches it is alarming that more focus is not given to the means and personnel of “the scheme” described in the article. The secure and proper management of this information will be critical to successfully executing the mandate of the government.


What is metadata? A Christmas themed exploration

The article “What is metadata? A Christmas themed exploration” is a fun description of the very basic nature of metadata. Reading it creates an awareness of how innately we create, alter, and otherwise interact with metadata even unaware. Pictures, sms text, snapchats, tweets, status updates, all carry both seen and unseen metadata and are generated in legions every second. Using Christmas as a metaphor makes this article light and entertaining, but the concepts it highlights are only the tip of very substantive areas of consideration.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Libraries, Discovery, and the Catalog: Scale, Workflow, Attention

The article “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Libraries, Discovery, and the Catalog: Scale, Workflow, Attention” provides some interesting insights into the nature of the catalog in the digital age. Several pieces in particular caught my attention. The environmental changes of community as content providers to the catalog and this information being integrated into metadata. While this metadata has not been widely used I believe integrating it at least as an ancillary measure for analyzing the catalog could be enriching for user engagement. I thought the concept of providing full access to the library meshed well with employing user generated descriptive data if user engagement is successful. Libraries in a digital rich world could benefit fiscally from transition into a digital hub of information providing access to digital materials and also enriching the local collection through user generated data.