The whole metadata thing I’m

The whole metadata thing I’m working on with Simon Willison is becoming more and more obvious. I’m really surprised nobody has done this: the more I think about it and now that it’s taking shape, the more absolutely obvious it seems: metadata should be syndicated and connected. Somewhat like news items (RSS). I can’t even remember why exactly it took me so long to get my head around it all.

Thanks to Simon’s Secret XML Powers, it’s also turning out to be surprisingly easy to code. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have working code in about 20 hours of work. I’m interviewing this week, so I don’t have a lot of time for coding, but even so it’s not as much work as I’d thought. I think we’re succeeding well avoiding the political pitfalls that make the RSS specifications such a mess – the advantage of dictatorship I think.

Coding together while living in different countries seems to be working out as well – mostly because we divide our work clearly. We’ll see how it goes, I’m curious how we’ll deal with coding together without using CVS or some versioning system.

I think the first real life applications will be on my colombia website, and then I want to make it work with a mailing list archive. Maybe the Sigia-L list? We’ll see how it goes…

0 thoughts on “The whole metadata thing I’m

  1. Reinventing the wheel? Nope ;) (Well, kinda) The example you mention (thanks) uses RDF embedded in RSS, with all the limitations that poses. My system, based on XFML which in turn is based on topicmaps, allows for a lot more power and (I hope) will address the reasons that have meant RDF hasn’t reached widespread adoption yet: data is usually embedded in the document, which means you need *write* access in order to add metadata to a doc, and it doesn’t scale very well. Also, the unique feature of XFML is that it is (as far as I know) the only attempt at a standard based on the concept of facets, which means it will be compatible with software like facetmap and such. Another key feature that XFML allows: connecting topics between different maps: indicating they are really the *same* topic. You could do similar things with RDF, but kludgy. XFML is *based* around the whole idea of connecting topics, and that is what makes it powerful.

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