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The Metadata is the Message

How User-Generated Metadata Is Blurring the Boundary Between Form and Content

Information architects are trained to think of metadata as a container used by professionals to define and describe content. However, from politics to the sciences to entertainment to social media, metadata has its own stories to tell. This talk explores the novel, consequential, and frequently funny ways in which users deploy metadata to craft messaging and offer commentary. It asks how both containers and content may be subverted in the service of unsanctioned narratives, as well as what the boundary (if any) between data and metadata might be.

Matt Johnson

I’m an information architect and web taxonomist with a more than a decade’s experience working on user experience design teams in enterprise IT, medical, and financial services organizations. I’m also a former chief executive of an LGBTQ+ community nonprofit in New York City. I recently launched an independent consultancy offering information management services to nonprofits, civic organizations, and small business owners.

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