Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Standards & Metadata - Part VII

Facebook/twitter diary excerpt from an information manager:
Vast majority of information is not held on computers but in people's heads
If Information is Communication, then what is Metadata?
Data, data everywhere. Hidden. [...] High value. Low awareness
Would like to take a broom to the data management techniques used

Such day-to-day concerns are symptomatic of the need to organise the data ballooning in any organisation. My industry has singular amounts of data, and PPDM, Energistics and ESRI PUG's wiki (login required) address metadata needs. So does the Open Geospatial Consortium in a broader cross-industry context, and the semantic web written up abundantly elsewhere...

Tear down this wall

There is a revolution of linked data under way. Be it on the internet or on intranets, data are being linked like never before... And therein lies the problem! At least in the oil industry, data have been kept in silos for so long that tearing down the walls and building bridges have been, are and will be an on-going challenge.

And the opening quotes are mirrored in governements trying to open to the public, such as the US a second generation, or the UK discussed on previous postings here. And at the end of my last blog post, one answer is to:
build the metadata so that the web can be usefully searched, and build a community to help out

Build bridges

Metadata is literally data about data, and is best summarised in James Fee's posting. The best example may be surveying data, where the careful and thorough documentation of projection parameters is absolutley necessary. And as, say, the EPSG site will indicate, it has built bridges and fostered cooperation among diverse parties for decades, in their own words to:
develop and disseminate best practice
provide a forum for the exchange of experiences and knowledge
influence Regulators and Standards organisations
liaise with industry associations
be the voice of Surveying and Positioning in the Oil and Gas industry
So what does this all mean? Metadata links create bridges across related domains and topics. It permits greater enquiriy, and to drill down searches. And metadata are not only key to each process, but they can also reside in other business processes.

Stay tuned for more on this series...