Now you might be thinking, why? Who cares? What you’re supposed to do is listen to the thing? But as I was talking about last time, all of the tagging and cataloging does have an impact on the experience of the thing – I can check the information to fit what I’m hearing into my mental understanding – I get a bit more of the puzzle of a scene, a history, a culture.

The richer the metadata I get, the more I learn. The easier it is for me to insert the new music into my library, the faster I can listen to it. Unfortunately even though mp3 is now the predominant method of buying and sharing music, there seems to be no regard for keeping any sort of metadata standard. I can buy music from a professional website, and get blank unnamed mp3s. It’s not unheard of.

I don’t think this is constrained to the realm of music, or people interested in cataloguing either. Imagine a news website – with rich metadata, you could sort through everything very very quickly to find exactly the type of story you’re looking for. In fact, in this way metadata could be seen as an in between of categorizing (“This goes under the heading ‘World News”) and Searching (“Find X”) – Metadata constructs post hoc categories, allowing the user to construct their own expertise from their own needs.