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Audio in a social Web of linked data


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A presentation given at the British Library as part of the Unlocking Audio 2 conference in March 2009.

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Audio in a social Web of linked data

  1. Audio in a social Web of linked data What do social networks tell us about the discovery, sharing and re-use of audio resources?
  2. <ul><li>apology </li></ul>
  3. <ul><li>confession </li></ul>
  4. <ul><li>I know very little about audio </li></ul>
  5. <ul><li>I know a little bit about digital libraries </li></ul>
  6. <ul><li>JISC Information Environment </li></ul>
  7. <ul><li>Dublin Core Metadata Initiative </li></ul>
  8. <ul><li>any coherently managed collection of audio resources delivered via the Web is a “digital library”... </li></ul><ul><li>right? </li></ul>
  9. <ul><li>on that basis... I hope I have something useful to say </li></ul><ul><li>but we’ll see! </li></ul>
  10. <ul><li>so... getting back to the audio for a moment </li></ul>
  11. <ul><li>I increasingly buy my music here </li></ul>
  13. <ul><li>and here </li></ul>
  15. <ul><li>and... </li></ul><ul><li>I increasingly listen to music here </li></ul>
  17. <ul><li>and here </li></ul>
  19. <ul><li>and... </li></ul><ul><li>if I was more into educational podcasts, I’d probably have to access them via </li></ul>
  21. <ul><li>but let’s ignore iTunes for now </li></ul>
  22. <ul><li> and Spotify both interesting for a number of reasons </li></ul>
  23. <ul><li>both push at the boundaries of how we have rewarded artists to date </li></ul>
  24. <ul><li>both are explicitly social in nature </li></ul><ul><li>(and like Muxtape which went before, they represent the evolution of the informal social sharing of recorded music which has gone on for decades) </li></ul>
  25. <ul><li>both are not just “on” the Web but “of” the Web </li></ul>
  26. <ul><li>Huh? What does </li></ul><ul><li>of the Web </li></ul><ul><li>actually, like, mean? </li></ul>
  27. <ul><li>an attitude </li></ul>
  28. <ul><li>an expectation that your content will be re-used in ways you didn’t anticipate </li></ul>
  29. <ul><li>an expectation that people will take your content, your API and URLs and use them to build something different </li></ul>
  30. <ul><li>oddly (given the previous slides) Spotify is not accessed primarily thru a Web browser but thru an Adobe Air application </li></ul>
  31. <ul><li>a situation that will be familiar to many Twitter users in the room </li></ul>
  32. <ul><li>aside: when my 19 year old daughter first saw Spotify her reaction was, “This is amazing, I never need to buy a CD again” </li></ul>
  33. <ul><li>which nicely captures a possible generational change in attitude from ‘ownership’ to ‘access’ </li></ul>
  34. <ul><li>Amazon and iTunes are also ‘social’ but not so much in the explicit (outward facing) way of Spotify and </li></ul>
  35. <ul><li>both derive knowledge from the attention data of large numbers of users </li></ul>
  36. <ul><li>whilst Amazon is very much “of” the Web, iTunes is barely even “on” the Web </li></ul>
  37. <ul><li>so... that was just anecdotal and by way of introduction but… </li></ul>
  38. <ul><li>two important themes that I want to return to </li></ul>
  39. <ul><li>1) being ‘of’ the Web rather than just ‘on’ the Web </li></ul>
  40. <ul><li>2) the importance of ‘social’ activity around content </li></ul>
  41. <ul><li>both are important when we think about what it means to be ‘open’ and to ‘unlock’ content on the Web </li></ul>
  42. <ul><li>step back </li></ul>
  43. <ul><li>look at digital libraries </li></ul>
  44. <ul><li>in a generic way </li></ul>
  45. <ul><li>uk-centric </li></ul>
  46. <ul><li>and specific to higher education </li></ul>
  47. <ul><li>jisc ie diagram </li></ul>
  48. <ul><li>focus on the content </li></ul>
  49. <ul><li>primarily ‘document-like objects’ </li></ul>
  50. <ul><li>focus on describing the content (primarily using simple Dublin Core metadata) </li></ul>
  51. <ul><li>and on moving that metadata from providers to consumers </li></ul>
  52. <ul><li>for the purposes of resource discovery , access and use </li></ul>
  53. <ul><li>and so we talk about the OAI-PMH, Z39.50, SRW/SRU, OpenURL, Dublin Core and so on </li></ul>
  54. <ul><li>much of the content is provided commercially </li></ul>
  55. <ul><li>so there is also a focus on mechanisms to protect content from inappropriate access </li></ul>
  56. <ul><li>and, perhaps more importantly… </li></ul><ul><li>there is an implied flow </li></ul>
  57. <ul><li>jisc ie diagram </li></ul>
  58. <ul><li>the JISC IE says very little about the relationships between people and content </li></ul>
  59. <ul><li>and nothing about relationships between people </li></ul>
  60. <ul><li>it says nothing about the social use that grows around content </li></ul>
  61. <ul><li>it talks about identifiers for stuff </li></ul>
  62. <ul><li>but not about identity (of people) </li></ul>
  63. <ul><li>this is not unusual for ‘digital library’ activities </li></ul>
  64. <ul><li>we talk a lot about content, and data formats, and metadata, and curation, and preservation, and persistent identifiers, and … </li></ul>
  65. <ul><li>we even talk about openness, and Creative Commons, and other open licences </li></ul>
  66. <ul><li>and these things are all very good and important </li></ul>
  67. <ul><li>but we don’t talk much about social networks </li></ul>
  68. <ul><li>which is a shame… </li></ul>
  69. <ul><li>because while we have been busy building digital library initiatives like the JISC Information Environment </li></ul>
  70. <ul><li>the Web has changed under our feet </li></ul>
  71. <ul><li>it’s increasingly participatory </li></ul>
  72. <ul><li>it’s increasingly about user-generated content </li></ul>
  73. <ul><li>it’s increasingly open </li></ul>
  74. <ul><li>it’s increasingly social </li></ul>
  81. <ul><li>3 things that are interesting about these services... </li></ul>
  82. <ul><li>firstly, concentration </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  83. <ul><li>secondly, they are ‘ of ’ the Web </li></ul><ul><li>they support diffusion thru simple and open APIs, the use of RSS, cool URIs for everything of value, a RESTful architectural approach, and so on... </li></ul>
  84. <ul><li>in short... they see being mashed as a virtue </li></ul>
  85. <ul><li>thirdly, identity (in these services) is not just concerned with questions like “who are you and what are you allowed to do?” </li></ul>
  86. <ul><li>but also about “ this is me, this is who I know, and this is what I’ve created ” </li></ul>
  87. <ul><li>identity has become user-centric </li></ul>
  88. <ul><li>concentration, diffusion and identity are enablers of social interaction </li></ul>
  89. <ul><li>meanwhile... somewhere in academia </li></ul><ul><li>(a alternative case-study) </li></ul>
  90. <ul><li>the open access </li></ul><ul><li>movement </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li>scholarly repositories </li></ul>
  91. a university-based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. It is most essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access or distribution . … An institutional repository is not simply a fixed set of software and hardware (Cliff Lynch, 2003)
  92. <ul><li>scholarly publications </li></ul><ul><li>learning objects </li></ul><ul><li>research data </li></ul>
  93. <ul><li>manage </li></ul><ul><li>deposit </li></ul><ul><li>disclose </li></ul><ul><li>make openly available </li></ul><ul><li>curate </li></ul><ul><li>preserve </li></ul>
  94. <ul><li>largely institutional focus </li></ul><ul><li>interoperability through centralised aggregators (national and global) </li></ul><ul><li>harvesting metadata about content using OAI-PMH (metadata = simple Dublin Core) </li></ul>
  95. <ul><li>jisc ie diagram </li></ul>
  96. <ul><li>but... </li></ul><ul><li>our terminology is confusing to ‘real’ people </li></ul>
  97. a focus on plain old ‘ making content available on the Web’ would be more intuitive to researchers than ‘deposit in a repository’
  98. <ul><li>a focus on ‘ content management ’ would change our emphasis </li></ul>
  99. <ul><li>OAI-PMH out… </li></ul>
  100. <ul><li>search engine optimisation, usability, accessibility, Web design, tagging, information architecture, cool URIs in… </li></ul>
  101. <ul><li>Google indexing </li></ul><ul><li>RSS feeds </li></ul><ul><li>widget technology – embedding functionality into other sites </li></ul>
  102. <ul><li>we have tended to adopt service oriented approaches in line with long tradition from Z39.50 to SOAP/WSDL </li></ul>
  103. <ul><li>our focus has been on building “services on content” rather than on the “content” itself </li></ul>
  104. <ul><li>we don’t tend to adopt a resource oriented approach </li></ul>
  105. <ul><li>we don’t adopt REST – an architectural style with a focus on resources, their identifiers (e.g. URIs), and a simple uniform set of operations that each resource supports (e.g. GET, PUT, POST, DELETE) </li></ul>
  106. <ul><li>we don’t encourage a Web style “follow your nose” approach </li></ul>
  107. <ul><li>… and we tend to treat “content” in isolation from the “social networks” that need to grow around that content </li></ul>
  108. <ul><li>successful “repositories” (Flickr, YouTube, Slideshare, etc.) promote the social activity that takes place around content as well as the content management and disclosure activity </li></ul>
  109. <ul><li>the institutional approach has fundamental mismatch with the real-life social networks adopted by researchers </li></ul><ul><li>subject-based </li></ul><ul><li>cross-institutional </li></ul><ul><li>global </li></ul>
  110. <ul><li>while institutional approach is good from perspective of institutional management, preservation, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>globally “concentrated” repositories might better reflect the social networks that need to arise </li></ul>
  111. <ul><li>the net effect …is that there is no net effect </li></ul>
  112. <ul><li>repositories remain uncompelling places to disclose scholarly publications from POV of the researcher </li></ul>
  113. <ul><li>perceived cost of deposit remains higher than perceived benefits </li></ul>
  114. <ul><li>we resort to institutional or funder mandates, “thou shalt deposit”, to fill what would otherwise remain empty </li></ul>
  115. what would a Web 2.0 repository look like?
  117. <ul><li>high-quality browser-based document viewer (not Acrobat!) </li></ul><ul><li>tagging, commentary, more-like-this, favorites, … </li></ul><ul><li>persistent (cool) URIs to content </li></ul><ul><li>ability to form simple social groups </li></ul><ul><li>ability to embed documents in other Web sites </li></ul><ul><li>high visibility to Google </li></ul><ul><li>offer RSS as primary API </li></ul><ul><li>use of Amazon S3 to cope with scalability </li></ul>
  118. <ul><li>final thought </li></ul>
  119. <ul><li>visitors vs. residents </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  120. <ul><li>counterpoint to the whole ‘Google generation’, ‘digital native’ meme </li></ul>
  121. <ul><li>resident – “ an individual who lives a percentage of their life online” </li></ul>
  122. <ul><li>visitor – “ an individual who uses the web as a tool in an organised manner whenever the need arises” </li></ul>
  123. <ul><li>the cultural heritage sector tends to build services aimed at visitors </li></ul>
  124. <ul><li>I think we should be designing with residents in mind </li></ul>
  125. <ul><li>conclusions... </li></ul>
  126. <ul><li> </li></ul>
  127. <ul><li>what would I do if I was advising on something like the JISC Information Environment now? </li></ul>
  128. <ul><li>I’d aim to be as like the mainstream Web as possible </li></ul>
  129. <ul><li>I’d ask “How would Google do this?” more often </li></ul>
  130. <ul><li>I’d focus on the basics </li></ul>
  131. <ul><li>I’d focus on the principles of linked data </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  132. <ul><li>use URIs to name things </li></ul>
  133. <ul><li>use HTTP URIs so that people can look them up </li></ul>
  134. <ul><li>provide useful information when people dereference the URIs </li></ul>
  135. <ul><li>include links to other things as part of that information (so that the recipient can find new things) </li></ul>
  136. <ul><li>I’d promote the principles of cool URIs </li></ul><ul><li>(practical persistence) </li></ul>
  137. <ul><li>I’d strongly encourage a RESTful architectural approach </li></ul>
  138. <ul><li>I’d encourage RSS / Atom as essential point of access </li></ul>
  139. <ul><li>I’d focus on the social aspects of the systems being built </li></ul>
  140. <ul><li>implies that the Open Stack (OpenID, OAuth, ...) is increasingly important </li></ul>
  141. <ul><li>I’d focus on building stuff for residents rather than visitors </li></ul>
  142. <ul><li>thank you </li></ul>