Now, whenever I see a metadata fail out in the wild, I feel a little bit of joy, as with this example from the National Library of New Zealand:
(You can see a selection of the National Library's serendipitous metadata moments in this blog post.)
My latest favourite is the tagging on the Auckland Art Gallery website. I can't quite tell if these are added by hand or if (as I suspect) a taxonomy kicks in and augments what the registrar or curator enters. At any event, I'm rather entranced by the tags appended to one of my most loved McCahons, The Fourteen Stations of the Cross (1966).
- natural landscapes
- landscapes (environments)
- settlements and landscapes
- associated concepts
- religious art
- religious symbolism
- visual works
- functions (activities)
- handwriting writing (processes)
- processes and techniques.
I kind of love the everydayness of 'deaths' and 'events' applied to Christ's crucifixion. I also love how cataloguing can nail all the facts and none of the emotions. I have a little germ of an idea for an interface to the pictures in Digital New Zealand that invited you to allocate emotions to images - The Fourteen Stations of the Cross, for example, might triangulate between loss, resignation, and hope. In fact, most of McCahon would live in that area of wonder and bewilderment. I'm not interested in tagging, per se, although I might just be splitting semantic hairs on this one. I want people to make choices, and then other people to explore those choices - making some magic with metadata.