XKCD on ‘data quality’

Staff at Astun are big fans of the venerable XKCD comic1, and recently one of the strips aligned beautifully with our work.

The alt-text is also apposite:

[exclamation about how cute your cat is] -> [last 4 digits of your cat’s chip ID] -> [your cat’s full chip ID] -> [a drawing of your cat] -> [photo of your cat] -> [clone of your cat] -> [your actual cat] -> [my better cat]

So what do the image or the alt-text have to do with data discoverability?

In our opinion, putting your data out there without high-quality metadata is exactly like someone who once saw the data describing it at a party. Users will, at best, have a superficial and potentially inaccurate understanding of the data and what it is for. The more you can add in terms of metadata, and in particular metadata about data quality, the better the data will be.  

Where do cats fit into all of this? Well, if you were searching for a cat on the internet, then you’d want results that gave you the best possible cat, rather than irrelevant results about how cute someone else’s cat is. Adding better metadata to your catdata will make it so much easier for people to discover it.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help with making your data stand out at parties, or with creating metadata for your cat, then contact us!

1 If you’re not already a follower of XKCD then may we recommend https://xkcd.com/303/ on code compiling, https://xkcd.com/386/ on people being wrong on the internet, https://xkcd.com/349/ on standards in projects, and, of course, the legendary https://xkcd.com/149/. We’ll wait…

Image: Dall-E’s representation of an ‘a furry animal that has a long tail and sharp claws’ (part of the Collins Dictionary definition of a ‘cat’).

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