Friday, November 24, 2006

Weekly Readings - 24 November 2006

Weekly Readings – 24 November 2006

Beneath the Metadata: Some Philosophical Problems with Folksonomy. Elaine Peterson. D-Lib Magazine. November 2006.

In today's world of digital information, classification is very important. Folksonomy has emerged as an alternative to traditional classification. It is defined as

"an Internet-based information retrieval methodology consisting of collaboratively generated, open-ended labels that categorize content such as Web pages, online photographs, and Web links". The labels are called "tags", and are user-created rather than author or cataloger created. Unlike traditional controlled vocabularies (or taxonomies), folksonomies are informal, unsystematic and, to some, unsophisticated. Many internet users like them because they are easier to create, there is no hierarchically organized classification scheme, less complicated, and thus less expensive to create. The problem is that they can be messy, contrary, or inaccurate.

Traditional classification schemes are more consistent and tend to yield more exact search results, but are also more time consuming to create and more limiting. Folksonomy allows for disparate opinions and the display of multicultural views. The two systems approach information classification from different philosophical directions.

The Digital Ice Age. Brad Reagan. Popular Mechanics. November 21, 2006.

A popular article about the problems with digital preservation. One issue that is emphasized is that even if some files are still available, they may not be exactly the same with later versions of the software. Technical drawings for example may actually be different when opened with later versions. Other files are at risk of being unreadable, and it lists examples of lost data. Sometimes the problem is noticed immediately, as when something disappears, but in other cases, the problems may be invisible right now. “If the software and hardware we use to create and store information are not inherently trustworthy over time, then everything we build using that information is at risk.” Archiving has become a more complex process than it has been. Some have found that metadata is not properly transferred when files are copied. Nara has said, “We don't know how to prevent the loss of most digital information that's being created today.” They have identified over 4500 file types that they need to account for. There are questions about whether migration or emulation will succeed. Adobe is working on solutions for documents and images. Solutions suggested include backups, long-term media, data recovery, and printing important items.

Digital asset management software helps N.Y.'s Met preserve art collections. Todd Weiss. Computerworld. November 24, 2006.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is replacing its film-based photo collection inventory with digital images in a centralized catalog using MediaBin Asset Server digital asset management software. “Being able to take photographs digitally means that prints or negatives will no longer deteriorate over time.” And they will meet one of the museum’s goals by making items available digitally to the public around the world.

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