Posting to NGC4LIB
On 12/10/2011 21:09, Diane Hillmann wrote:
Also, from the point of view of the search engine community, this optimization by embedding metadata is their one-and-only use case for metadata. Those of us who remember early attempts to embed DC properties in web pages also know some limitations of this approach: it assumes metadata is static and unchanging, and makes it virtually impossible to maintain or re-use. We have a lot more than that we hope to do, and that niche, should we chose to accept it, really uses our skills and experience to the utmost.
My own thoughts are that perhaps “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) really is the future for all metadata, for better or worse. Its simplicity is going to make sense to a lot of people, and it can be implemented now. But as I mentioned earlier, I don’t see why microdata would be any less susceptible to spam than “author created metadata” was before, when people would put in practically entire encyclopedias into the meta fields, and when search engines disallowed information in the meta fields and took only the text in the body of the webpage, people came up with all kinds of clever things. One I discovered that I thought was really neat, where people would put in all kinds of spam using white text on white backgrounds, so that you couldn’t see it until you looked at the page source.
The only solution that was found was the Google-type solution that rated pages by links *to* the page, and not by what was *on* the page. This is liable to spam also, with Google-bombing and of course, SEO, which is actually a type of Google-bomb but more respectable.
Nevertheless, library use of microdata could provide a level of a predictability in the search result, which I think people want, at least sometimes, as opposed to the endlessly “personalized” search results that all of the information companies seem to be aiming for: personalized by your own previous searches, by what your friends searched, by what their friends searched, by what people with similar profiles searched and so on and on….
Libraries allow true *conceptual* searching, using Use Fors, Broader/Narrower Terms, Related Terms, and scope notes, so that people really can search by concept. Google-type searches will remain as more and more complex variations on searching text, using fuzzy searches for terms, thesauri and so on. But no matter what, it will remain textual.
Libraries and conceptual searching, no matter the problems with it, is wanted by many once people begin to understand it. But our conceptual searching is really weird for most of the public today.
I still say this is one place where libraries could provide something nobody else does. But I don’t know–maybe it’s too late. It would cost some rapidly-disappearing bucks that will be spent on implementing RDA! That will certainly solve all of our problems! 🙂