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Teaching and Learning Multimodal Communications

Alyssa Arbuckle, Alison Hedley, Shaun Macpherson, Alyssa McLeod, Jana Millar Usiskin, Daniel Powell, Jentery Sayers, Emily Smith, Michael Stevens, Authors

This comment was written by Emily Smith on 9 Jul 2013.

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Digital Objects Are Objects, Too

This exercise got me thinking seriously about the materiality of digital objects—a concept which became of central concern to my final project, where I exhibited a series of digital photographs in Scalar. In my final project, the process of attributing metadata to digital objects became a practical means of making a conceptual argument about the materiality of digital ephemera. Rather than using Dublin Core to describe the intellectual and conceptual content of the photos I exhibited, I tried to use metadata like an artist might—to describe the materiality of the media employed in the creation of the objects. For me, this eventually meant referencing the editing program I used to edit the photos, the physical site where the digital data was stored, and the file type the image was saved in.

This exercise was of particular interest because of how it allowed us to compare the inconsistent way metadata is used to describe media on the web. For instance, images found on blogs were often almost entirely without metadata, whereas the tedious metadata for a video on YouTube was often incoherent, inaccurate, and more confusing than it was informative.

Being required to choose a specific set of of DC elements to describe the chosen objects for the assignment not only revealed the subjectivity of using metadata and the elements provided but also the need to be systematic in order to maintain a certain amount of consistency within one's own use of the elements.

Author: Emily Smith
Word Count: 244
This page comments on:
The Practice of Everyday Metadata (9 July 2013)
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