Anna Murphy, Response #3

I am still on the fence about metadata being out of the hands of information professionals. On the one hand, as we are all basing our careers on, our expertise can create a standardization that will ensure nothing can be lost and therefore accessible. But if non-information professionals are able to access and update, they will be able to use the information as they see fit. This seems the entire point of information. Gilliland discussed how user-generated metadata has a lower cost and higher sense of ownership over the information. It seems that if information can be best organized by its users, it should be.

This made me think of a metadata project I took on for myself many years ago: organizing my iTunes library by mood. This was well before Songza, Pandora, and Spotify with their mood-typed playlists and searches. I wanted to update the records in my music library so that I could find songs to listen to when I was feeling “Contemplative” or “Homesick”. I found that updating the genre with these original tags was great at first, but soon enough I realized that one tag was not enough and iTunes wasn’t designed for this type of self-metadata management. I imagine an information professional could have created the framework for this capability, much like the way Pinterest and Pocket allow you to create your own lists and tags, and view others’ for inspiration.

I think users should be able to change their information for their uses, but that information professionals must design the scaffolding.


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