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Metadata Visualization

Metadata (data about data) is going to be big, no question about it. I’m sure it will change how we do many things in a few years, especially when the technology creeps in from the odd web applications to your OS. Already, I’ve enjoyed tagging my “photos”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisada/ in Flickr, my “links”:http://del.icio.us/dubber in del.icio.us, and my e-mails in Gmail, and making my life easier in the process.

During all these, I’ve noticed a method for visualizing importance of tags with font size, which I think is becoming a trend. It’s utterly simple and not expensive (geek speak), yet useful in getting the picture from mere glances. Current examples inlucde

* “tags”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/ on Flickr
* “things”:http://www.43things.com/home/ on 43Things
* “zeitgeist”:http://jimfl.tensegrity.net/zeitgeist/ by Jim Fanagan

Del.icio.us doesn’t have this visualization thing yet, (The site is as bare-bone as possible it could be) but Kevin Davis has made “extisp.icio.us”:http://www.kevan.org/extispicious.cgi for just that. It runs very quicky, and shows my del.icio.us universe as below.

visualizing delicious tags

With a quick look you will see photography, manga, football, and webdev, which is about where my interest lies. Very intuitive. The actual result is “here,”:http://kevan.org/extispicious.cgi?name=dubber where each tag is a link to its corresponding page on del.icio.us. (The positions are random so it will not look exactly the same as above)

The next (logical?) step is perhaps to show relations between tags, in a way similar to “TouchGraph,”:http://www.touchgraph.com which is being used in “GoogleBrowser”:http://www.touchgraph.com/TGGoogleBrowser.html and, my favorite yet, “Audiscrobbler Browser.”:http://www.pmbrowser.info/audioscrobbler.html

I’ll bet half a dozen more major sites will use this technique before mid 2005.

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