Monday, October 18, 2004

The 3rd Age

The end of data? "There used to be a difference between data and metadata. Data was the suitcase and metadata was the name tag on it. Data was the folder and metadata was its label. Data was the contents of the book and metadata was the Dewey Decimal number on its spine. But, in the Third Age of Order (see the previous issue), everything is becoming metadata."

"So, in the Third Age of Order, all data is metadata. Contents are labels. Data is all surface and no insides...Why does this matter? It changes the primary job of information architects. It makes stores of information more useful to users. It enables research that otherwise would be difficult, thus making our culture smarter overall...But, now that everything is metadata, no particular way of understanding something is any more inherently valuable than any other; it all depends on what you're trying to do. The old framework of knowledge — and authority — are getting a pretty good shake."
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