Are we overloading the system (web) with metadata?
First we digitized our knowledge, and businesses, then our conversations (the IM, one on one model expended to the micro blogging broadcasting model that is now searchable), lately we digitized our relationships and preferences using social networks. Yet, the most prominent change that is hard not to notice on the web is the explosion of metadata; the data about the data.
- Links to pictures, videos, blog posts and more are tagged, annotated and rated.
- Conversations are Stared (favorite), and #hashtaged.
- Blog info contains author, Tags, Tag Cloud, rank, authority and more.
- Public bookmarks and news items allow searching for the person who saved/submitted/dugged/rated them.
- Profile data is expended beyond static information like name, address and DOB to include experiences.
- Each one of us now owns a News feed generated by our mini network’s activities.
- The FOAF and XFN protocols adds metadata programmatically about relationship between individuals.
- More relationships and meanings’ defining protocols are developed and adopted by semantic search engines and social networks. You can now find a lot of information today about the data.
Almost any object on the web today is wraped with meta information about it.
An intresting question is what is the current ratio: metadata/data and how quickly does it grow? But, the most important question in my opinion is: Will it help to find and organize what that we need, when we need it? Will we see an inverse of the current data pyramid or will it only bury important information with too much data about the data?
This extra data that we and many new applications generates today has the promise to organize the data better for our needs. Yet, at the same time it does overwhelmingly increase the amount of information out there.
So my question is does it also increase the tasks of searching, processing, organizing, filtering and presenting valuable information for us or does it make it more efficient?