Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Second-Class Metadata

One advantage to viewing the world through the lens of an RSS reader is that you learn how negligent many information sources can be about their metadata. Where journalism is concerned, we readers already have to contend with a pathetic decline in editing quality. In the RSS world there is a good chance that editors have no idea that metadata sources exist, let alone that they might carry some significance for readers, as well as search engines.

For the rest of us, however, metadata errors may be treated like those little bits of editorial incompetence that The New Yorker collects for available space at the bottom of their columns. The RSS feed for ABC7 news in San Francisco turned up a doozy of a summary this morning:
At San Francisco International Airport federal agents found opium inside 66 bars of hallowed out soap.
I suppose it is possible that there was an editor who did not think this was erroneous. Perhaps (s)he just believed that opium was the religion of the people.

1 comment:

jones said...

When officials in the US and England were busy fabricating the rationale to invade Iraq, carelessly revealed metadata proved embarrassing.

The "dodgy dossier" released by Downing Street -- which Colin Powell cited at the UN, and which turned out to be plagiarized and false -- was released on their website in both PDF and Microsoft Word format.

The Microsoft Word document contained the document's editing history, revealing who the plagiarists were: