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Happy Shiny Metadata

In the software-candy-mountain, I have this lovely notion of metadata that is intrinsic to content and metadata that is not.

The former are universals about the content; which is to say they're true statements for all systems the content might go through - ever. The latter metadata is contingent on systems and people processing the content (workflow state comes to mind as does stuff like "nofollow"). I think it's really quite elegant and would include two personal favourites - a notion of control directives and workflow as being contingent and belonging squarely inside a system boundary; and support for external parties producing statements about content that they are not the source or owner of.

Meanwhile, in the desert of the real, it's impossible to split metadata consistently this way. There are very few (any?) non-contingent 'facts' about content. Universal truths are for mathematicians and priests.

May 18, 2006 10:43 AM


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