Sunday, October 17, 2010

The truth in labels

At a conference like #Europeana there are so many little factoids that merit more attention, that it takes time to pick the ones that merit more attention.

In one project they provided a mix of labels provided by experts and labels provided by crowd sourcing. It turned out that 85% of positive results were due to crowd sourced labels and 15% due to expert labels.

The conclusion that adding the crowd sourced labels is a success seems obvious. With more people able to find what a project has to offer, the project became more valuable. I was quite astonished when I heard people from other projects mutter about the "truth" in such labels.

The truthy labels are still there and remain of benefit to the people who know the terminology. The issue is that the great unwashed do not have the benefit of years of study to acquire such esoteric vocabulary. That does not mean that they have no interest or knowledge but that their truth is expressed in a different way.

When the truth is in numbers, the experts have it wrong. However, this is also too easy. What is needed is a dialogue, a translation so that each of the different parties is better understood so that their is room and respect for both.

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