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Content 27. < !------- test block: issue=Content id=709 sec1name=What's In Here imagetmplt=3218 ---------->
     There's a frood who really knows where his towel is.             1969-1984

January 2019    Dennis R. DuBe'     709/3196

7. Defining "Information Pedigree"
     If you were to have an "API" (application programming interface) for content, it would have tools to trace the genealogy of a piece of content from its present manifestation, back through the history of changes to the original production of its components.
          Dennis DuBe #3196   Created 10/13/2012   Updated 10/27/2016

We have talked at great length about the Pedigree of Information, and how it is changing in the Social Media Age, as the creation of content spreads into the field of consumers.

At the center of the conversation was the concept of "Pedigree". A common assumption has been that the source of a piece of material has a bearing on its credibility. A news story by the New York Times, for example, may have greater credibility than an unsigned pamphlet handed out on street corners. That is not to say that the pamphlet is not accurate, or correct, or truthful, but that the newspaper story is more "believable" because the manner of its production and distribution are more documented and visible, more transparent as to source of information and presentation.

This is the sense in which Pedigree is a look at the history of a piece of information. It incorporates an understanding that content (in the sense of published or broadcast material intended for consumption) is always created with a purpose. It doesn't just spring into being; it is the result of some human intent.

That purpose, in many cases, is to present information as a view intended for a specific audience, a setting of specific information within a particular context designed to communicate to an audience of a characteristic composition. For example, The ultimate goal of professional journalism is to present the day's news in a timely manner, and with sufficient context that it can be easily understood by the media's particular audience.

"Context" is everything, of course. A host of societal norms, business conditions, current practices, personal prejudices and simple misunderstandings turn every "view" into a complex social construct. It is fair to say that any presentation of news, whether tabular or text, is governed by the context of its presentation.

A news story constructed for subscribers of Investors Business Daily will have a unique combination of information and context specially constructed for an audience of sophisticated financial experts; a news story constructed for Quilters Newsletter Monthly will similarly have a unique combination of information and context for a particular audience of quilters and craft marketers. However, neither publication will be wholly comprehensible nor useful to the average audience of the other.

Therefore, a presentation like a news story (or scientific paper or political speech) has a "position" in relation to both the subject matter and the intended audience, a view that incorporates not only a filtering and a focusing on a subject, but also a direction of view, a perspective that will generally correspond with the purpose of either the publication's intended audience, or the author's content, or both. The happy outcome, of course, is "both".

The Pedigree of information is the aggregate of these factors, taken in their fullness. Knowledge of the purpose of creation of the information (which includes knowledge of the intent and practice of the creator), the position of the information in relation to the creator and the audience, and an appreciation of the direction of the view, are all part of understanding the Pedigree of Data.

When the Pedigree is stripped off of information -- a common occurrence on the Web in news republishing, blogging, social media, content aggregation and "curation" -- the information can be trimmed or twisted to assume a new position in relation to the audience and the subject matter. While it may convey some or all of the same information, the change in context results in the construction of a significantly altered meaning. In most cases, the new context does not align perfectly to the intent of the original creator.

It can be seen from this that the relative commercial value of information is modified by its pedigree. A certain and authoritative pedigree creates a greater potential value for the information in the marketplace. An uncertain and vague pedigree dilutes the value of the information in the market.

Looking at the same concept in reverse, it may be that pedigree is a measure of property. A highly pedigreed piece of information is private property; unpedigreed information is in the commons.

If you were to have an "API" (application programming interface) for content, it would have tools to trace the genealogy of a piece of content from its present manifestation, back through the history of changes to the original production of its components.



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