Jeff Longland

Relax, don't worry – have a home brew!

[WebCT Impact 2006] Re-thinking Knowledge: Everything is Miscellaneous

So this is my first attempt at live-blogging a conference. I’m sitting in David Weinberger’s keynote entitled Re-thinking Knowledge: Everything is Miscellaneous at the WebCT Impact 2006 conference. There was one slide that really hit me – the distinction between data and metadata, or currently the lack thereof. Data is now metadata, and metadata is now data, one and the same. Thinking back to my experiences at a library conference several years ago and a keynote given at the time by a knowledge management expert – we’ve come a long way. At the time, there was much talk about taxonomies and the importance of structured metadata entered by a trained expert. Google, Flickr,, et al. have certainly turned that concept on its ear with thousands of people informally tagging a variety of content. I wonder what that knowledge management expert would have to say these days. As David said, the “mess” of data is a form of organization. I think the Flickr tag system does a great job of making sense of the mess by analyzing associated tags and grouping tagged photos into clusters of similar types. David’s example was the tag “capri” and how Flickr groups the photos into cars, hotels, etc.
I’m really enjoying this session. Quite possibly the best keynote I’ve seen at a WebCT conference. I got a real kick out of David’s comments about the authority/validity of the Wikipedia and how its authority is increased through the ability to tag pages as biased, incomplete, etc. As he said “We’d never see this on the New York Times”.  Onwards to the next session.


Written by jlongland

July 12, 2006 at 10:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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