working on my top ten list yesterday, i came to the conclusion that while the semantics of online documents are well formed and pretty unambiguous, offline media is a big mess.
weblogs provide the ability for people to discuss content on their own terms, and services such as allmusic, amazon, cdnow, imdb allow them to contextualize their discussion. by linking to cdnow, i allow people who read about music on my site the ability hear samples of that music. by linking to amazon, a reader is connected to a set of expert knowledge, and connections to topically similar media.
each of these services provides a different set of features, each with their unique branding. my biggest wish at the moment is for a standard, but there doesn’t appear to be any convergence happening in the near future. while i’m in a list making frenzy, i thought i would outline the qualities that would make the ultimate media resource:
- online samples: cdnow pioneered this technique for bringing offline content online without infringing on copyrights. now amazon also offers sample pages from books.
- expert commentary: where would we be without critics? imdb aggregates expert commentary by linking to external resources, while allmusic, amazon, and cdnow all maintain their own “experts.”
- user commentary: bringing people together around content (and purchasing it) has been a major cause for the success of amazon. with other competitors offering similar prices, the only service that e-tailers like amazon have is the community and meta-information they have collected around their products.
- multi-media: the ultimate media resource should exist regardless of the media type: movies, books, music, magazines, etc.
- relational information: every time i go to allmusic, i spend at least 10 minutes off on some tangent as a result of their fine system of interconnections. the collaborative filtering at amazon has a similar effect (“those who purchased this book also purchased..”), but often misses some of the obscurata that allmusic is famous for connecting. even the simple social network provided by imdb is enough to navigate through the world of movies.
however, until someone invents this resource, i’ll have to continue my schizophrenic linking behavior. allmusic for music, cdnow for music samples, amazon for commentary, imdb for movies, …