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A brief report from our metadata events in Manchester and Edinburgh

Inspace venue at School of Informatics, EdinburghWell, we've just finished our last two Partnering for Innovation events of the year and what an adventure it's been. I'm writing this on the train back from Edinburgh to London unsure whether we'll make it or not. The country has been blanketed in snow for the last couple of days and it's getting worse by the minute. Lovely.


Yesterday, Tuesday November 30th, we were at the Cornerhouse in Manchester, which, for those who don't now it, is a rather wonderful independent cinema complex with a great cafe and bar and an especially good fill and art bookshop. I hosted the morning and represented the CI KTN, and the morning was introduced by David Edmunson-Bird from Manchester Digital. We then had a pretty packed morning of presentations: Jon Weatherall of games company Onteca talked about his experience of successfully applying for TSB funding; Simon Phillips of Tools of Directing talked about the possibilities of collecting data as early in the film production stage as script writing; BBC R&D's Michael Sparks talked about the importance of time as aspect of metadata capture in broadcast media; and Jeremy Silver from the Technology Strategy Board talked through the details of the upcoming metadata fund and what it entailed.   


We also filmed the event; it went out live on the net, with a healthy number of followers sending in questions in real time, and we'll get edited versions up of the films of each of the talks up in a week or two. We've been tracking keywords our audiences call out in response to the question what words or phrases do you associate with the word metadata? Here's what Manchester came up with: 

  • Lots

  • Volumes

  • Stuff (my favourite!)

  • Behaviour

  • Analytics

  • Data-mining

  • Provenance

  • Inference

  • Automation

  • Understand

  • Semantics

  • Data-creation

  • Classification

  • Information

  • Glue

  • Profiling

  • Finding

  • Optimisation

  • Discovery

  • Recommendations

The last event of this little tour was this very morning at the splendid Inspace, part of Edinburgh's School of Informatics - quite one of the most impressive presentation spaces I've ever seen. The day was introduced by the CI KTN's very own John Cass and David Hartley form Scottish Enterprise. I talked about the metadata ecosystem through the lens of my own experience, specifically that of trying to get the BBC Music Network off the ground; Chris Jackson talked about projects undertaken by his company Metabroadcast; and John Cass then took the reins on explaining the call and its process.  Our little metadata word association game turned up these:

  • Content

  • Tags

  • Discovery

  • Standards

  • Encyclopaedia

  • Morass

  • Personal

  • Navigation

  • Search

Given the appalling weather conditions, it was especially gratifying to get a good audience at each event - and such and engaged and thoughtful ones, full of smart questions and insights. I thank everyone for making it along and hope it sparked off some thinking which might manifest itself in the funding call.    Many thanks also to the KTN's Anita Onwuegbuzie for her sterling efforts organising and running the events with such alacrity and quickly pulling contingency plans together as the weather worsened.   Looking forward to our next round of events in February.   

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