Rachel Lovinger is a content strategist at Razorfish, and last year wrote a report on nimble content – meaning content that can travel freely from its original location, retaining its meaning and context, but also capable of being inserted into new products.
I’ll warn you: Lovinger is really smart, and she talks on a high level. I hope I have captured it all accurately and made it useful if you’re not in the session.
Her overarching message: Get some great metadata, and use it well.
Nimble content must be well structured:
Nimble content requires tools, processes and standards.
Nimble content can be understood and used by machines…not just by humans. To be understood by machines, you have to have standards.
Some potential structures for organizing your data
The structure you apply to your content lets it be flexible once it leaves your hands.
- HTML5 is a great resource in making your content more nimble. You can describe relationships, types, titles, more in the tags. She references Mark Pilgrim’s great guide to HTML5.
- RDF stands for resource description framework, and lets you collect metadata into sets of triples. RDFa is a more recent framework that lets you embed similar code into your HTML.
- OWL is web ontology language. Ontology is a set of knowledge related to a domain, so this is starting to get into some serious information science here.
- SKOS=Simple knowledge organization system — a hierarchical way to express knowledge or relationships.
- Your CMS gives your information structure and separates the knowledge from the presentation.
Nimble content must be well defined.
Structural metadata defines your content. What information do you have about your content? You have types of content, and each type has different elements. [Events have title, description, start time, end time, etc.]
Content needs to have standards. Lovinger is referencing a number of metadata standards used in different fields. She starts with the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, which is working to create interoperable metadata standards. She lists several metadata standards used in journalism, pointing out that sometimes you need to use more than one framework.
Some metadata around images: Digital cameras capture a lot of metadata. EXIF, exchangeable image format. Based on TIFF attributes. XMP, or extensible metadata platform is another. This one was created by Adobe but is incorporated into some other web standards.
Metadata standards for video: MPEG-7 is one standard, but Media RSS was created by Yahoo! and includes more details that are useful when you’re syndicating.
Metadata standards for social connections: FOAF – Friend of a friend. Describes a number of other items related to social connections. SIOC [pron. shock] – Semantically-interlinked online communities. Used more with forums and communities.
Metadata standards for products: Good Relations is a standard for products/ecommerce.
Nimble content must be well described.
Once you have structured and defined your content, you must use that framework to effectively describe it. Use your labels and tags well.
Oh, nice: She throws out a differentiation between these terms:
- Folksonomy: User-generated tags or categorization
- Taxonomy: Hierarchical structure for content
- Ontology: Hierarchical structure that incorporates business rules [Example: This can differentiate between the blackberry in your cobbler and the Blackberry in your purse.]
Lovinger is talking about machine-assisted tagging — systems that will suggest tags or terms to you and the user can accept or reject. This can help your folksonomy have more structure, for instance. And mentions that Drupal 7 incorporates RDF and RDFa.