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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Messy Information (again) and Google Book Search

    One of the most interesting thoughts to come out of David Weinberger's keynote paper at Online Information 2005 was the idea that, with large digitization projects in which the complete texts of millions of volumes are made searchable, the data becomes the metadata. No need then to worry about the relative merits of pre- and post-coordinate indexing; with knowledge likened to a pile of leaves rather than a tree, taxonomies become last year's information science and tagging - social information management - is this year's flavour.
    Do not under-estimate the power of the people - the power of social information management; tagging information is messy and uncontrolled, but it works. Do not under-estimate the power of the actual data to beat the metadata - the catalogue; more and more major digitization projects mean a vast searchable mass of text to search! Talking about their digitization work with the British Library, Microsoft's Alistair Baker said that it was, "the start of a very long journey; in five years time the things people search for will be very different to today."
    I wait for the first OPAC software to offer users the ability to tag records, thus providing a second level of access: access focused by the users, for the users. Now there's an idea!

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