Loraine Lawson on IT Business Edge discusses why metadata simultaneously adds value to sets of data but also makes it more complex to integrate different data sets. She makes the comparrison between metadata and money:
“You know how they’re always comparing IT to utilities or the phone company? Well, it seems to me that metadata is a lot like money. Money isn’t standardized across countries. In fact, money is pretty esoteric: Each country defines the look, the feel and value of its own currency. That’s how you get situations like the dime, which is roughly the size of a penny but worth more than the larger nickel, a situation that befuddles some foreigners.”
The article continues:
“These separate systems of money work pretty well until you want to trade with another country. Obviously, you’re not going to just adopt their currency – I mean, you’ve got all these coins made already. Same thing with metadata. Your programmers did their own thing with the metadata, and it worked pretty well — until you wanted to trade between systems or with business partners.”
The article highlights one of the significant challenges to the promise of the semantic web that has not hitherto been discussed in a non-technical fashion.
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