Three Magic Ingredients
The three ingredients for using metadata effectively on the internet.
1. Metadata Publishing
You need a standard, computer-readable format & grammar for expressing metadata assertions. "This page is good", "This page is about sheep", "This file is virus-free", etc...
Outfoxed Solution: Use RSS files to express relationships.
In Practice: Use a browser extension to give the user an easy method of generating and publishing these RSS files.
However, the mere existance of these files is not enough, and leaves us only a little better off than before. How do you choose which metadata files to use? When some file says that a program is virus-free, how do you know it's telling the truth? This brings us to the next ingredient:
2. Metadata Filtering via Social-Network
To select your sources of metadata information, use the features of a social network: only use (i.e. trust) people (or other sources) that you know, and people who know people you know, and so on.
Outfoxed Solution: Include the social network data in the metadata file. After all, assertions of trust are just another sort of metadata. So we have assertions saying things like "I trust/use/import the metadata in the file at location X."
In Practice: Use a browser extension to periodically spider through network of metadata files and build a database of trusted metadata information.
At this point you have a big fat database of trusted metadata, but it's of little use if you have to pro-actively search it. An automated solution is needed, which brings us to the next ingredient:
3. Metadata Application
To make the metadata useful, we need to query our database whenever we encounter data that might have some relevent metadata. Here are the obvious places:
- Browsing the web: every page that is viewed.
- Internet search: highly rated pages should be higher in search results.
- File downloading: files which match a published fingerprint can be certified virus-free.
And there are many more!