Its all about the Metadata?

I like what this is saying, however I'd like to see some more examples…From those good people at NewTeeVee.

“What’s metadata?,” you might ask. Think of it as a layer of data describing content. In Joost’s example this could be anything from a simple timeline to tags to a full-grown programing guide.

The notion of using this type of data for some creative mashups first came up on the Ironic Sans blog, where a Joost fan by the name of David Friedman brainstormed about a feature that he would like to see in the client: The ability to share comments on the programming based on each show’s timeline. Says Friedman:

“Imagine watching a show like Heroes once, and then watching it again with comments turned on to see what other people caught that you missed.”

The concept of annotated television is definitely intriguing – especially if you package it into an easy-to-use application. But it wasn’t just the idea itself that made Friedman’s post interesting. Notable was also the first comment, made by someone who identified himself as Matt Hall:

“We’re already working on it. So far we have a rough passive version — a few bits of content have “trivia” that pops up at specified timestamps — but we plan eventually to allow timestamped tagging, commenting, annotation, etc.”

To be fair, we can’t know for sure if this is the same Matt Hall who works as a software engineer at Joost’s offices in Leiden. We do however know that Joost also hired Dan Brickley, who is one of the inventors of FOAF – a RDF-based metadata framework that makes it possible to transform simple web pages into machine-readable social networking nodes.

We also know that Joost makes extensive use of such metadata frameworks to build the programming and community features of its service. To quote Joost developer Leo Simons: “Not a day goes by without some of our developers swearing about ‘RDF’ or ‘metadata.’”

So what can these metadata frameworks be used for? Timestamped comments and tags are certainly one interesting possibility. Combine this with FOAF-like social networking structures, and you got yourself a whole new way to explore TV programming.

Oh by the way, we're planning a little festival in Edinburgh around the end of August . More details to come but if your interested in video, moving image and storytelling in the web space and the state of TV on line, brings you out in rants and raves. Drop me a email or look out for posts soon about the Edinburgh Fringe TV festival.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and