Errata as Metadata

August 28, 2007


Too long and too important for a Stop Press post:

Google is throwing away information that is fundamentally characteristic of books—metadata that describe and even determine what books are, as simple and trivial as volume numbers, or artifacts of type design, editing, and artistic production. Books are not, in other words, mere bags of words, but vehicles in which ride a wide sundry of other passengers—metadata, artistic expression, whimsy, and error. Books are born and produced in a rich organizational and information-rich social and economic context, and the willing discard of that context carries with it a loss whose surface manifestation may be amusing, but whose deeper ramifications are profoundly disturbing. [Link]

Even if you don’t want to go down the route of scratch’n’sniff ebooks, we have to recognise that books aren’t just the lit. They are an experience. Google is getting it wrong. Can we do better?

Image courtesy of Bekah Stargazing, Flickr and CC. 1,265 results for photos matching book and smell.

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