Snow Byte and the Seven Formats is brilliant. I loved everything about this article. It was witty it was funny and it made me feel smart which is a nice perk. But really, the way the story grew around storage formats was downright fun. It introduces some terms like “obsolescence” while merely hinting at others such as the prince Dublin referencing the Dublin Core elements. It also demonstrates the benefits of a digital repository, letting Snow Byte get access to her files after the wicked Queen deleted them all.
I don’t know if the author actually intended the story to be read and understood by children or if that comment was more of a jest. I believe some of the information might be a little complex specifically Dublin’s discussion of the XML wrapper around the information, then again perhaps that is my own lack of familiarity showing through. In either case I think this story brings up many important points concerning information storage and treats them in a light, fun way. I could see this story being a jumping off point for discussions in class or just a really fun relaxing read trying to catch all the references made throughout.
It took me reading through a couple of the posted articles for me to wrap my head around microformats. I’ll be honest, I had to go to Wikipedia to make sure I had a firm grasp on what “microformat” actually meant. The terminology that finally made me get it was the discussion of syntax and semantics.
As I recall syntax is the grammar of schemas and semantics is the meaning. Just as I could never quite get my head around English grammar until I learned Latin sentence construction taking a step back often helps me put new formats into perspective. Microformats tell computers what various bits of XHTML or HTML code mean in a human context by giving them handles. This bit of information is a nominative, nominative means the subject of the sentence and so forth and so on. Once I could wrap my head around it I can understand why people are as interested in the possibilities as they are. Formats which help make computer data relevant and immediately understandable and useful to the human part of the equation is always exciting.