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Don’t worry, the Web will categorize itself…

October 16th, 2007 · 1 Comment · Collective Memory, Web 2.0

Michael Welsh, a ‘digital ethonography’ professor at Kansas State University, has created a follow-up video to his amazing and widely-viewed “The Machine is Us/ing Us.” In this second piece he once again drives home the point that digital information is different because it has less constraints than its paper counterpart. It is not shackled by physical constraints like shelves, storage cabinets, card catalogues and microfilm readers. Instead, it is out there, out of the reach of ‘experts’ (e.g. librarians and archivists), ready to be tagged and linked by the masses.

I am not sure I agree fully with his implied conclusions. As I learned during several discussion about faceted search at the recent Access2007 conference, bad metadata is bad metadata. There is still an argument to be made for quality (e.g. precision) vs. quantity (e.g. recall). I also don’t think that information in digital form changes the fundamental definition of information, although it does change how that information is organized and used.

At any rate, this is another very watchable video that somehow manages, once again, to evoke the wonder, emotion and intellectual excitement that is the attraction to most of us working their way through this digital information r/evolution.

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 carrie // Dec 4, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you for the link to this interesting little film… unfortunately I started to get a sick, nauseated feeling as I was watching this — the “excitement” of digital information seems to have bypassed me – mostly due to the constraints of working for people who don’t understand the importance of good metadata — or metadata in general.