There isn't yet a simple plain-text standard for meta-data, that can be applied universally across all services and objects - from web pages and web resources, to documents and files, from books and articles to audio and video files - applied basically, to all digital resources.
Then building on top of all this tagging - all this human-computation and folksonomy - building flexible tools that mine and collate the meta-data from across all possible services, communities, spaces and contexts. Making these tools expandable, so adding another service/context/data-source is as simple as possible.
So, how is this different?
- we use it in the same way, but consistently across all services/contexts/collections
- we use it even when no provision is made for it - wherever we find space for plain text that can be co-opted to meta-data - like in comment fields, sidewiki entries, bookmark notes, mp3 id3 comment fields, etc
- then we build software to collect them from both the formalised meta-data services and the informal - and shape flexible plugins to collect them from wherever the standard can be recognised
- First, the simplest forms of meta-data - tags/labels - flat, informal ontologies - collections of keywords - like those used within services across the so called web2.0.
And when using services that aren't designed to use tags/labels - co-opting plain-text fields by, say, the following:
tags = blog, tagging, ideas, software, socialSoftware
- Second, simple key value pairs, like author=JaysenNaidoo; date=20101113; license=gpl3
- Keeping the set of standards as open as possible - but defining them properly in public. Adding any other std that can be represented in plain-text and gains enough ground - depicting hierarchies, semantics, etc.
.. possibly more on this later.
some almost related links:
Actually some of these suggest practical tagging standards as well: