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15 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Frankie Roberto,

    I guess one of the key issues here is interface. Using the web as a cms is great, but it means having to learn and use tons of different interfaces, that might put people off.

    Are you editing all the music data on the MetaBrainz site, or have you looked at building any simple editing interfaces for your staff yet?

  2. @Frankie — it certainly might be a bit of an issue, although I’m not sure I would describe wikipedia and musicbrainz as a ton of different interfaces! And to be honest I think folk often get overly fixated on this — for sure it can be an issue in some instances but often its not. After all we do all use and learn a whole host of different interfaces. Just look at how many desktop apps you use.

    In this instance we’re using the MusicBrainz site.

  3. Michael Smethurst,

    darn u scotty. was half way thru a post on exactly the same thing ;-)

    one thing i thought hinted at but not made explicit is the editing of links to pull in content. if an artist has a musicbrainz entry and a wikipedia entry but they’re not linked in brainz then bbc staff add/edit this link to pull in the biog to the bbc artist page. it’s not just about editing ‘content’. it’s about editing links. and every corrected link adds to the linked data web and makes the web as a whole greater than the sum of it’s parts.

    @frankie if u could see the miriad interfaces that bbc production staff currently have to fight with ud be able to picture them weeping with joy at these 2

  4. Michael sorry about that I hope you hadn’t spent too long on it. At least it shows that the hive mind is still alive and well. ;)

    You are, as ever, spot on with your comments about adding/ editing links.

  5. Kim,

    I am so chuffed that you guys are finally making this kind of thing happen.

  6. Thanks Kim I’m glad you approve.

  7. Lovely. As you know, I’ve been going on about this sort of thing over at Common Platform. My angle is that a parallel effort ought to be made to encourage individuals and teams at the BBC (outside of projects like yours) to contribute directly to OLD resources and to Wikipedia in particular. I think the dividend from the application of the huge intellectual resource represented by BBC experts and enthusiasts will be substantial – and a really responsible application of the licence fee in a way that produces PUBLIC VALUE. Public value that just happens to exist on servers outside the bbc.co.uk domain.

  8. @Steve I obviously think it’s a very good idea for BBC folk to contribute to wikipedia, musicbrainz and the like in those situations where it’s mutually beneficial for both the BBC and wikipedia etc.

    But I’m not convinced that BBC staff should contribute to wikipedia outside of such projects.

    It seems to me that such endeavors work best when there’s a clear benefit to both the individual, the community and the company. Contribution to Wikipedia outside of a project is unlikely to achieve this.

    That said if other areas of the BBC adopted a similar approach to the new music site then it wouldn’t matter too much anyway since you would end up with BBC staff contribution to wikipedia, improving bbc.co.uk, creating links between resources.

  9. @Tom @Michael – thanks both! I guess you’re right that MusicBrainz & Wikipedia don’t add a huge interface burden (at least no more than everything else). I guess I was thinking further forward in terms of ending up using 5-10 different data sources, each with their own interface.

    Using APIs to publish changes back to these sources from your own interfaces is one obvious solution, but then we have to juggle this against the benefits you get from encouraging staff to better understand the communities that produce this data through using their own interfaces.

    Finally – have you comes up against the notability problem with using Wikipedia yet? ie one of the reasons that last.fm decided to implement their own wiki-style biogs for music artists was that lots of their artists weren’t notable enough to meet Wikipedia’s criteria – in effect they’re too far down the long tail. I suppose the BBC music site is going to concentrate on the more well-known artists rather than those without record deals, but still…

  10. @Frankie — You’re right that if it got to the point where any one person needed to edit 10 different data sources to update something then that would be a problem. But I suspect that in reality even if the BBC had this many (web) data sources to worry about then it’s very unlikely that any individual would.

    But should it arise then updating via an API is one solution. However, there are problems with this — firstly as you say it distances people from the community, but it also creates a burden on the development team to keep our UI in sync with the API (assuming there is one).

    Re the notability problem — it is a risk (and something that was clocked early on in the project). But there are a couple of ‘solutions’ firstly this is only likely to be a problem either for artists that don’t get played on the BBC or are only played once or twice. You then need to question whether not having a biog matters. But if it does then we can provide some text from our own CMS until the artist is notable enough to have a Wikipedia entry.

  11. I found your blog by chance . but i have to say that it’s great blog very useful information and very interesting subjects just greetings and good luck
    i’m not going i will be always checking for updates.I’m very interested in CMS and all its related subjects.

  12. timothy,

    From a usability standpoint I found it shockingly annoying to read your article with all of its links. It’s very choppy with so many different things. Maybe it’s just this article cause your trying to make a point with it.

  13. J Peterson,

    Hi – am late to the party, it seems. If you’re still answering this, have you thoughts/ideas about the implications of open-editing? I’m an MLIS and working ontologist, and I am (in theory) a big proponent of Linked Data and semweb, but the librarian part of me cringes when I think about just anyone being able to edit something that will end up on a supposedly authoritative site. Wikipedia was meant for community, so I expect a degree of error, but what about authority sites? It would be like going to Amazon music and understanding that their track listings may or may not be right. Are some BBC sites meant to be less exact than others? How do you ensure quality content?

    • So implicit in your concern is the belief that the BBC is able to ensure higher degrees of accuracy than say Wikipedia, or musicbrainz. For some subjects this may well be true but for others probably not. There are obviously numerous reasons for this, including the publication of new research, failure to identify the appropriate research etc. etc.

      These sources of error are true for both the BBC and e.g. Wikipedia but Wikipedia has many more people, often more expert in the subject editing and reviewing a document. In other words often the error rate is less than in e.g. the BBC. This of course won’t always be true.

      The other advantage Wikipedia has is that it is much better at citing sources than media companies and as such it is easier to check the quoted data.

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