Garbage in, garbage out

22 10 2008

Years ago, way back in 1992 I believe, when I built my first FileMaker data base, a programmer friend of mind told me to be sure the field I was creating would be ones I’d use and relevant to what I’d be looking for later on. Why? Because…”Garbage in, garbage out.”

I’ve built and architected numerous databases since then and this message has been the baseline for each and everyone. The closer I toe the line on what can be garbage, the more successful the end result. At the same time, training people to use the database once it’s built, is the second key to keeping it out of the grabage heap.

So why am I talking about such old technology today?

Well, today so much content on the web is “User Generated”. Yes, we’re all users, but UGC comes mostly from people who are not professional data gatheres and don’t understand the implications of mis-labelling or omitting a label on something. That’s fine, why should we expect everyone to know this about data?

BUT… but I just got a reminder of why it is important. Search. A new serach tool just brought me back to web serach as it was 10 years ago. OK, so it’s really nothing more than a gimick. However, the results this engine delivers are pretty bad. Junk, garbage, call it what you will but I only got a 10th of the results one should expect.

School classes on tagging and content labeling? Facebook cources maybe? It sure would be sad to turn back the clock here.

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