The LandscapeOur profession is on the brink of a full scale evolution. In many ways, our future has never been so bright … or so ambiguous. The emerging information landscape is very different from that which we grew up in, and remains constantly in flux, as exponential changes take place in information and communication technologies. The unprecedented adoption of mobile and social technologies, in particular, presents unique considerations for librarians, library staff, and metadata managers. My talk today is entitled, “Cloudkeeping: Metadata in Mobile/Social Environments.” I’ll take a look how metadata is developed and managed in cloud-hosted services via mobile devices and social networks. When I refer to “the cloud”; I’m referring to any software, platform, application, or virtual service hosted on, developed for, and delivered primarily through the Internet. As cloud computing hits the mainstream, it represents a major change in attitudes about managing data. Compared to narrowly controlled, locally-hosted data management options, often proprietary & unwieldy - cloud-based services are especially attractive, because they are scalable, sharable, flexible, and in some cases, more affordable (either free, or you pay for only what you need). As the information environment shifts, so too, we as librarians must shift in response. As metadata managers, we must adapt our skills and expectations to understand this new culture, learn how to participate, and develop appropriate standards to aid accession and retrieval in libraries. As practitioners of information organization, we must expand our knowledge to include optimal use of cloud based systems, document best practices, and better understand how users access cloud data in the mobile/social environment. In this way, we are all cloudkeepers: collectively responsible for the care and keeping of data in the cloud, and building expertise to support the library of the future.
Life in the CloudCloud computing opens up a world of new opportunities. How can we best prepare for the changes that cloud-base information management will mean for libraries? Already, libraries are instutionally turning to cloud based options, such as WorldCat’sWebscale Discovery System & hosted ContentDM solutions. Amazon Web Services and Google Applications are becoming popular choices for archiving data and managing projects. For example, my colleague, Edward Iglesias at Central Connecticut State University, implemented an innovative system for archiving digitization masters using Amazon’s service. Many libraries are already using Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and Wordpress, for sharing content and interacting with their communities, and exploring the possible benefits of mobile-social geolocation services, such as Foursquare. Librarians use cloud based tools, such as Google Docs, Dropbox, and Evernote and others services shown here, for both personal and professional use, too, due to their accessibility, ease of collaboration, and mobile productivity.While we often think about metadata in the context of stringently defined standards, user-generated metadata in the cloud often takes the form of semantic or colloquial tagging of digital content. This CHANGES HOW USERS EXPECT TO INTERACT WITH DIGITAL CONTENT. As librarians, we must participate now to identify emerging trends and advocate for flexibility in library standards. It is essential for us as cloudkeepers, to develop expertise regarding new user expectations , and to determine best practices in order to make informed data management decisions in the years ahead.The proliferation of cloud based services allows real-time content creation and information sharing. It also enhances opportunities for mobile/social interaction and crowdsourced metadata. In short, cloud hosted data and mobile/social technologies make metadata management personal. Every cell phone, smart phone, ipad, and ebook reading device connects users to digital content they will want to organize.
Metadata in Mobile/Social EnvironmentsLet’s take a closer look at four of the leading services in the mobile/social environment: Flickr, Twitter, Facebook , and Foursquare.
FlickrFlickr was one of the first mainstream cloud based services to popularize user-generated metadata. Promoted as a social network for photo sharing, Flickr users were immediately drawn in by the ease of organizing digital content in both traditional ways, using sets and collections, and new ways, by adding notes and ‘tags’ – created organically by users – for easy retrieval later. Flickr users could also elect to allow others to add tags to their photos & later, even introducted the option of ‘tagging’ people (that is, other Flickr members).Flickr’s convenience extended to the mobile environment early one. Mobile users could email photographs directly to their Flickr account, and include metadata, such as titles and tags, right in the message. The development of Flickr’s mobile website and iPhone applications further advanced mobile metadata options.
FlickrThe Flickr iPhone app allows users to take a photo for immediate upload, upload directly from an iPhone library, and once uploaded: edit title, description, add to sets (or create new sets), and add tags or create news tags. It also allows users to set privacy setting for each photo individually, on the go.
TwitterTwitter is another cloud-based service designed for mobile interaction – users are encouraged to broadcast short information updates and cultivate a group of followers who receive them. Twitter messages can be sent and received by SMS using any cell phone – smart phones not required. Likewise, Twitter #hashtags – Twitter’s de facto metadata standard – can be included with any SMS tweet. Twitter’s iphone application supports metadata management for profiles and allows users to save specific hashtags to follow information streams. It also offers advance customization features that effect metadata, such as preferred link shorteners and photo utilities (for services also in the cloud – such as bit.ly and twitpic).Twitter hashtags are user created and preferably brief, to limit the number of characters used. They are often subject or situation-related, but vary widely. Certain hashtags have purpose, such as prompting specific Tweets to appear in social networks: for example, Tweets with hashtag #yam appear in a Yammer, an enterprise social network for businesses, and Tweets with #fb appear selectively in Facebook.
TwitterWhen selecting a hashtag for an event, it’s important to register it – both to define its meaning and as a way of letting others who wish to use the hashtag know that it has been used already.
TwitterThis site, tagal.us, is an example of a hashtag dictionary and registry, and it can be used by anyone with a Twitter account. When selecting the hashtag for this talk, I first searched the term “cloudkpg” discovered that the tag was not registered, and added the definition for this talk.
TwitterHashtags provide a convenient means of organizing and viewing tweets of like content, similar to the use of subject headings in the catalog. Hashtags are also used to aggregate tweets for archiving, using services such as Twapperkeeper. We can bet that the Library of Congress will be looking closely at hashtags as they catalog the Twitter archive.
FacebookFacebook’s received heat in the press lately due to serious changes to their privacy policies. What’s less discussed is the connection between privacy and metadata in Facebook. While metadata options are limited, users are able to tag friends in statuses, notes, and photos – and the user-defined privacy settings for tagged items is one way to ensure a limited measure of control over content related to you.
FacebookFor example, like with Flickr, users can take a photo to upload to Facebook, or select from their photo library. They can add tags and edit the caption before uploading the image. And depending on the privacy settings of the tagged user, the photo will be more or less visible to the Facebook community. However, there are gaps. A tagged photo with restrictive settings placed into a more public photo album on Facebook will default to the more liberal viewing permissions. Users are learning through trial and error about the connections between metadata, discoverabilty, and privacy that they may not have considered before. Metadata has become personal.
FoursquareFoursquare is the newest of these cloud-based services and is quickly catching on. With Foursquare, users ‘check in’ to locations detected by geolocation technology built into their mobile devices. In a sense, what’s being tagged on Foursquare… is you. Foursquare awards badges to build incentives for participation. That is, it rewards you for contributing adevelopingbank of metadata about user behavior. How will this information be used?
FoursquareFoursquare also allows users to add new locations to check in when a specific location is not recognized. Users can also modify incorrect listings or add more metadata about locations via Foursquare’s website. In the example above, a local grocery store had changed locations and the new location was not recognized in Foursquare. I added the location. On another visit, I checked in and became the mayor. I also earned the “Super Mayor” badge, and that information was broadcast via Twitter.
Each of these services allows users to store and manage their own content in the cloud, and assign metadata that is personally relevant and unique, from the convenience of their pocket. Metadata in the mobile/social environments is personal, customizable, and flexible. Compare that to the controlled vocabularies, standards, and guidelines we adhere to in libraries. What’s next? And how do we get there from here?
How will your libraries meet the changing metadata expectations of users in the cloud-based mobile/social environment? As librarians, we are a community of users with the experience and training necessary to understand and examine mobile/social metadata from a critical perspective. Let’s look ahead to these changes, and work together, participating and defining standards in the cloud.
Ascloudkeepers, we collectively participate in the care and keeping of data in the cloud. To do so, we must expand our skills to include managing metadata in mobile/social environments and actively build the necessary expertise to educate our users and anticipate and develop effective standards to support the next-generation library.
Cloudkeeping: Metadata in Mobile/Social Environments
Cloudkeeping:<br />Metadata in Mobile/Social Environments<br />Lisa Carlucci Thomas<br />Digital Services Librarian<br />Southern Connecticut State University<br />
Lisa Carlucci Thomas<br />Digital Services Librarian<br />Southern Connecticut State University<br />ThomasL10@southernct.edu<br />Facebook.com/lisacarlucci<br />Twitter.com/lisacarlucci<br />Hashtag: #cloudkpg<br />