Archive for March, 2009
I had an interesting airport experience yesterday. Realizing I was flyng with a U.S. based airline, I planned ahead to take advantage of oversold flight perks. Wouldn’t it be great to have a free flight for a writing session with the co-author of a book we’re hoping to write this year! So my plan was in place, and I walked to the counter during the announcement that asked if one person would delay their flight.
I arrived first, and a tall man arrived on my heels (close enough that we might be interpreted as a couple). The United agent hung up to phone and asked the man if we were together. I replied that we weren’t but we’d come for the same purpose. The agent maintained eye contact with the man and arranged for his free flight. I was as curious as I was irritated. As I walked away from the counter, a woman standing close enough to have watched the scene unfold gave me a knowing smile. I said, “I guess I wasn’t tall enough” and she laughed.
After the passenger and agent had completed their conversation I went back to the counter and said “For future reference, I wanted to let you know that I was the first to arrive at the counter.” The agent looked a bit flustered and said “Well, he might get on this flight anyway.” I wondered if he had spent his career working for tall white males and reiterated that I was mentioning this as something to think about in the future. I wonder if he heard anything other than a gentle complaint? How many boundaries was I trying to cross, and did I cross any of them?
Recently, Lisa Petrides posted this tweet:
“listening 2 interesting talks on metadata (really!). we have 2 get away from narrow def of it, to include user-generated, annotations, etc.”
This reminded me of a work I had done with Andrew Faulkner in which we used data warehouse infrastructure (his specialization). I created views of data integrated from several sources so that front line managers could quickly access basic and customized reports related to particular tasks, challenges and opportunities. They had no interest in technical metadata, but did care about what the data meant, from where it was drawn, how recent it was, and why each report option could be helpful.
Although Andrew and I never wrote about what he calls metacontent in this context, he did write a paper with Henry Kucera titled “Managing Metacontent: Metadata + Meta-information in the BC MELP Data Warehouse,” which I am sharing here with his permission. kucera_oow98