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A Graphical Representation of Meta-data standards

I wonder if you could give us your assessments of a web site that recently came to my attention. I think both the site's subject and approach are interesting and other's views on it would be extremely useful.

The site title is "The Metamap" and it's description is as follows:

"The MetaMap is a pedagogical graphic which takes the form of a subway map. Its aim is to help the information science community to understand metadata standards, sets, and initiatives of interest in this area."

It is a University of Montreal site administered by James Turner and is the collective creation of students under Professor Turner's direction. The course is offered through L'Ecole de bibliotheconomie et des sciences de l'information (EBSI) at the University of Montreal.

Here is the link to the home page.

Please note that you will need to use a browser capable of displaying Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and more particularly, SVG programmed to use the Adobe SVG plug-in. Browsers *excluded* from the list seem to be those based on Mozilla/Ghecko, i.e., Netscape 6 and 7 and Mozilla itself even with the native SVG engine enabled.

-- ed nixon (email)

Response to A Graphical Representation of Meta-data standaards

This is interesting, worthy of bookmarking. And it passes the content test: after glancing at the design, I started looking things up. The clustering of similar items via the map metaphor is quite helpful.

There is a bit of circularity in that you need to know a little something about the acronyms to identify the acronyms. Perhaps the names corresponding to the acronyms can be placed on the same page as the map, along with a paragraph how to read the map. Those materials are now available as links but it would be helpful to make the map more of an independent whole.

What would be an alternative or improved design? A nicely constructed table? A looser map that broke the horizontal and vertical grid? Stronger meaning to the X/Y dimensions? Eliminating browser dependence? A map metaphor of connected blobs (with acroyms inside each blobs) similar in structure to the 1933 Czechoslovakia Air Transport Schedule from Envisioning Information, page 102? That map has not only a 2D spatial orientation but also includes another variable (time).

It would be helpful to hear from content experts about the map.

-- Edward Tufte

Metamap Acronym Index

One of the secondary links is a map with index -- not only are there pop-up full names for each acronym, but there's a clickable index that zooms in on the name you click.

-- Sean Owens (email)

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