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Friday, July 08, 2005

Initial Thoughts on Rating Tags

Before posting more generally on how tags and ratings can possibly be combined I thought I would experiment with the technique first to see how it works. The basic format for each rating would consist of five elements as outlined below:
<rater>...</rater>
<resource>...</resource>
<time>...</time>
<tag>...</tag>
<rating>...</rating>
The <rater>...</rater> entry refers to the URL where the data is stored. So in this case it is the webpage of this blog (http://soundrater.blogspot.com). Normally I would expect it to refer to some form of feed as the data is more suitable for processing by computers rather than reading by individuals. The important point is that the person who created the metadata exercises ownership over the location found in the <rater>...</rater> entry so that others cannot spoof their ratings. It can be considered, by default, the ID of the rater for purposes of subsequent analysis.

The location where the item or content being rated can be accessed is identified in <resource>...</resource>. I prefer to think of items/content as resources that are of potential use to people/computers accessing them, although this may not be a widely held opinion as the examples below can all be considered to be "content". The <time>...</time> entry refers to when the rating was published and would be done in some appropriate format that is widely accepted - I have just made up an entry below.

The entry in the <tag>...</tag> element is chosen by the "rater" for the identified "resource" at the specified "time" as per other tagging systems - so nothing much new there. However, it (the tag) is then used as the basis, or criteria, against which a rating is given in the <rating>...</rating> element for the resource. So each tag enables a different rating, although the "resource" and "rater" are the same. Personally I prefer a rating scale out of 100, despite the popularity of the five-star scheme, as it gives scope for finer granularity.

Each rating would require these five elements to be valid. Also, in the examples below, I have repeated all five entries so that it is easy to determine if each rating has the necessary five elements to make it valid or not. I will discuss this structure in my next posting. So here are a few examples:
<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://www.lisarein.com/lisarein-jamesandmarybeth.mp3</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>song</tag>
<rating>85</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://www.lisarein.com/lisarein-jamesandmarybeth.mp3</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>mp3</tag>
<rating>83</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://www.lisarein.com/lisarein-jamesandmarybeth.mp3</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>RockCountry</tag>
<rating>65</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://www.lisarein.com/lisarein-jamesandmarybeth.mp3</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>RockBallad</tag>
<rating>90</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://www.lisarein.com/lisarein-jamesandmarybeth.mp3</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>attribution1.0</tag>
<rating>100</rating>
So, when tagged as a "song" I have given the resource a rating of 85 out of 100. It is a bit more interesting to rate it against the "mp3" tag as the file is an mp3 file. It could therefore be argued that as a resource either is or isn't an mp3 the rating should either be 0 or 100 (in this case 100). However, in my opinion, the "mp3" tag is a criteria which also encompasses issues such as bitrate, distortions/pops etc. In other words, how does the resource rate against the qualities I expect an mp3 (or more accurately a resource tagged "mp3") to possess? As the song takes about 11 seconds to get started and the bitrate is 160kbps I have given it a rating of 83 out of 100.

I had some difficulty coming up with a tag to represent genre. RockCountry isn't quite right so I only gave it a rating of 65, although I still decided to include this information as it may be useful. Having contacted Lisa Rein (the artist) it appears that RockBallad is appropriate which is why it scores 90/100.

Finally, as this song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 1.0 license I have represented this using <tag>attribution1.0</tag> and giving it a rating entry of 100. This is because the song either is, or isn't, licensed in this way and I can see no reasonable grading scale. It's an issue I need to think about. There is also a question of whether or not this type of tag rating complies with the attribution license requirements as the only reference to Lisa Rein occurs in the <resource>...</resource> entry, and this would not be the case if the MP3 file were hosted on sites such as Archive.org or ourmedia.org. However, as the rating is of a file hosted on someone else's system I tend to think attribution is not required, although I would welcome clarification on this point.

The next example is relatively straightforward:
<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://www.archive.org/download/Miracle_Car_video/sam_bisbee_miracle_car.mov</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>song</tag>
<rating>95</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://www.archive.org/download/Miracle_Car_video/sam_bisbee_miracle_car.mov</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>musicvideo</tag>
<rating>85</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://www.archive.org/download/Miracle_Car_video/sam_bisbee_miracle_car.mov</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>indie</tag>
<rating>90</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://www.archive.org/download/Miracle_Car_video/sam_bisbee_miracle_car.mov</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>NY</tag>
<rating>87</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://www.archive.org/download/Miracle_Car_video/sam_bisbee_miracle_car.mov</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike2.0</tag>
<rating>100</rating>
The major difference between this and the last example is that it is a music video rather than just an audio file - hence the "musicvideo" tag. I included the "NY" tag as it seemed to me to be an integral part of the video, and I guess would help people looking for music videos set in NY if that is what they desired.

Finally, an item I have found quite difficult to tag and rate, possibly because I have been trying to anticipate who would be looking for such content and what they would be using it for (see above). On reflection, I think it is important not to make assumptions about matters such as usage, but instead to focus on capturing the essence of the item when selecting tags with appropriate ratings. By accurately representing a resource in this way the technique could be used as a basis to facilitate its discovery. So in this example I have chosen "song" "apple" "girl" "fun" "squeaky" "wmv" and "copyright" with ratings as detailed below.
<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://http://www.archive.org/download/Apple_Song/thevideo.wmv</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>song</tag>
<rating>40</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://http://www.archive.org/download/Apple_Song/thevideo.wmv</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>apple</tag>
<rating>85</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://http://www.archive.org/download/Apple_Song/thevideo.wmv</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>girl</tag>
<rating>85</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://http://www.archive.org/download/Apple_Song/thevideo.wmv</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>fun</tag>
<rating>90</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://http://www.archive.org/download/Apple_Song/thevideo.wmv</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>squeaky</tag>
<rating>90</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://http://www.archive.org/download/Apple_Song/thevideo.wmv</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>wmv</tag>
<rating>70</rating>

<rater>http://soundrater.blogspot.com</rater>
<resource>http://http://www.archive.org/download/Apple_Song/thevideo.wmv</resource>
<time>20050616T143428</time>
<tag>copyright</tag>
<rating>100</rating>

It would be interesting to hear how others think this (and the other two items) should be tagged and rated...

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