SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: understanding metadata , was Re: SIG
Re: understanding metadata , was Re: SIGIA-L: future directions for IA
From: Mike Brown (mike_at_toolbox.co.nz)
Date: Wed Aug 29 2001 - 18:24:00 EDT
From: "Louis Rosenfeld" <lou_at_louisrosenfeld.com>
> I was sharpening my skull just the other day when it occurred to me that
> many information architects still view their work as being about
> information. We are fixated on the *syntax* of the "finding experience"
> but, IMHO, not the *semantics* of it. Both are important, but I'm afraid
> we'll fall into the same trap as the XML, portal, and content management
> communities: all kinds of great ways to structure your information, but
> describing its meaning... huh? That expertise will have to come from
> somewhere else, of course. And then we wonder why these solutions don't
> solve much...
> I think that users aren't after information, they're after *meaning*. If
> you look at it that way, the whole IA landscape suddenly takes on a
> different look. Instead of staring at your information, you can ask
> yourself new questions about it, like what is the actual meaning that it
> contains, what are the "hooks" that will help identify and pull that
> out of that information, and what kind of meaning do my site's users
> want anyway? What does meaning mean to them: relevance, popularity,
> authority, timeliness, consistency, availability, something else?
What you wrote suddenly suddenly struck a chord for me, and I'm trying to
work out why. :)
I especially like the sentence - "users aren't after information, they're
after *meaning*". Is another way of saying that, to say - users are doing
things within a particular context. They are looking at a portal, say,
because they've got a new baby and it's crying all night and they're looking
for information on colic. Or to rephrase, they're looking for reassurance
that they're doing the right things, that the baby's going to be ok etc etc.
That's the *meaning* of what they're looking for.
Quite how this fits with the metadata thing I'm not sure, but if I
understand your comments above, you're saying that the next step is somehow
being able to "fit" together a metadata structuring *and* an understanding
of the meaningful contexts in which people act? And if that's not done,
users (people) are lead into a nicely structured experience that feels
divorced from the real, meaningful, reasons they came there in the first
place. And nothing is really solved for them.
Or am I reading too much into this? :)
(throwing some more mud on the wall)
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:54:48 EST