Tag Archives: tags

The Internet of things

Estimated reading time 2–3 minutes

Internet of Things — An action plan for Europe is an EU document describing the EU’s response to “The Internet of Things” (IoT), as technologies such as
RFID, Near Field Communication (NFC), and wireless sensor/actuators now allow objects to be tagged and linked to information.

The EC is financing “research projects in the area of IoT, putting an emphasis on important technological aspects such as microelectronics, non-silicon based components, energy harvesting technologies, ubiquitous positioning, networks of wirelessly
communicating smart systems, semantics, privacy- and security-by-design, software emulating human reasoning and on novel applications.”

As well as obvious information management issues, there are interesting implications for privacy and security. For example, will the IoT reduce property crime or just create a black market for false tags or fake URIs and geolocators? Will criminals set up their own systems to track shipments of contraband? Will we get “object identity theft” with contraband labelled as legitimate goods? This seems to me to be a categorisation issue.

It might be fun to be able to tag my stuff with my own folksonomic labels to help me sort my house out or pack to go on holiday, and then make sure I don’t leave things in hotel rooms, but I suspect it might waste more time than it saves!

Another issue is how long before we extend this kind of tracking to ourselves? A friend said to me the other day that we should all have our own URI, which would save having to update our records when people change their phone numbers, email, addresses, etc. Add that to the geolocation tracking that is already happening, and no-one will get to be anywhere without it being recorded. Is that really useful, or scarily Big Brotherish?

There is a lovely metpahor of “Favela chic” (subversive, non-commerical) versus “Gothic High Tech” (repressive regime) in Twitter and The Web of Flow: Talking with Stowe Boyd & Bruce Sterling about Microsyntax, Squelettes, Favela Chic and the State of Now which I found via Open Intelligence (on Twitter!).

Reuters Wants the World To Be Tagged

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Estimated reading time 1–2 minutes

Reuters Wants The World To Be Tagged. This article on the ReadWrite Web blog is about the new API (does anyone else pronounce this “appy”?) sent out into the world by Reuters. They are hoping it will encourage tagging of articles in a way they can then harvest. It sounds like it is fairly basic at the moment – it is only recognising a few bits and pieces like people and places. It would be interesting to see how well it does with people like Jack London and places like Congo (Brazzaville) and Congo (Kinshasa). When I worked on a similar project we had lots of problems disambiguating the Guineas (Papua New, Equatorial, etc) and Salvadors (El or San) in particular. I assume they have lots of authority files backed up by rules that will sort all those out. It would be nice to see “under the bonnet” as it were!

Library of Congress Photos on Flickr

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Estimated reading time 1–2 minutes

Library of Congress Photos on Flickr should be an interesting experiment in how well social tagging can sort out content. It meets the criteria of having a lot of content that is currently very hard to find, and comprehensive recall is not essential (if some photos remain unfindable despite the social tagging, it’s a shame but not a disaster). The Library presumably has decided it would rather have any tagging than none and is reluctant to spend money. It also has a high profile and most likely the good will of the experienced taggers of the Flickr community. I would think it would also provide the librarians with a good starting point for organising their image metadata if they decide they want or need to do some more formal sorting out further on down the line. Definitely one to watch.

Search for synergy

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Estimated reading time 1–2 minutes

I’ve now spoken to two more taxonomy consultants who both expressed the opinion that folksonomies should be embraced, but only where they really work, and that they can’t always substitute for formal systems. Would anyone entrust their child’s health to the opinions of a random crowd, rather than a thorough examination by a trained and qualified expert? On a different theme, if you want a comprehensive stock control inventory so that you know how many items to order from your wholesaler, you want to know exactly how many widgets you have in your warehouse, not how many widgets, plus doodahs, plus gizmos, you have and hope when you’ve added them up you have the right number. You want to know that whenever a shipment has arrived, it has been logged on the system as a box of widgets, and not as whatever whoever happened to log the delivery felt like calling it at the time. On the other hand, you want your customers to be able to search for widgets using any term that springs to mind, and if it helps them to add a tag to your website labelling widgets “grandma’s buttons” so they can find and order them easily another time, then let them do it!