"Things can be found by search," [Wired's Kevin] Kelly adds, "only if they radiate potential connections." Yes, and that leads to a more nuanced view of search than the one Google and its competitors have popularized. For the past few months I've been revamping search on InfoWorld.com. Fulltext search works more effectively, but it's also augmented by streams of metadata and by RSS syndication. It's all about making the site a better connection engine.
Like many sites, InfoWorld.com offers a canned set of topical RSS feeds Now that every iwx view can be seen through an RSS lens, that set is vastly enlarged. Suddenly we have feeds for Vista, for Cisco, and for many other topics for which obvious tags exist. Cool! But not in the obvious way. Before iwx offered an RSS feed of InfoWorld's Vista articles, del.icio.us did. And frankly, neither version is very interesting in and of itself. If you want to syndicate articles about Vista, ours are only some some of the ones you'll want to see in that feed.
Aggregated views are the ticket. And the key point is that the iwx version of the feed encourages smarter aggregation. Metadata is what makes the interactive experience in iwx more compelling than its del.icio.us counterpart. By syndicating that metadata, I'm inviting others to more richly contextualize their aggregations of our stuff. If other publishers will return the favor, I'll gladly make better use of theirs.
This week's column asserts a key tenet of information management. When we use our domain-specific metadata to enhance query and search, we can locally outperform the global engines. It also proposes a corollary. Even though that metadata confers local advantage, we should still syndicate it out to the network at the highest possible fidelity.
By way of walking the talk, every iwx query now yields a metadata-enriched RSS feed that enables smart aggregation as well as direct use in feedreaders.
I'm hoping that the next time I run this query I'll find more and better examples of metadata-enabled mashups -- based not only on the metadata foundation I've laid, but also on similar foundations elsewhere.
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2006/06/15.html#a1469