well, not really bad metadata. More like the wrong metadata.
Dipity lets you build interactive timelines. You can pull in all kinds of information sources — video, text, images — and display them in a nice, linear timeline. The interface is easy to navigate. Each item in the timeline can be viewed within the timeline, and each item has a handy “next event” button to make navigation easier.
Anyway, I have some ideas for how to use this interface and if I ever get time to try them, I’ll post about it more. But that’s the thing – putting this stuff together does take time. If you choose the browse timelines option on the dipity site – there are a LOT of timelines with no events, with 2 events, with 4 events. I’d imagine a fair number of them will never be finished.
So the other day I noticed this – Time Tube – a mashup that puts the Dipity timeline interface together with YouTube. Same cool interface, but you just have to keyword search a topic and your timeline will be populated with YouTube videos a few minutes later. It’s created a fair amount of buzz over the last couple of days, most of it positive because it’s fun to use and some of the timelines are pretty interesting.
But – the timelines are based on the date the video was uploaded. If all you want is a nice browsing interface this is okay – as another way to display the results of a YouTube keyword search. But as a way of visualizing information, if what you want is to add some kind of meaning or context to the videos, it’s only useful for a very narrow set of topics.
Compare this “Beatles” timeline to the one above –
It doesn’t look too bad, but there’s no real meaning there. Not even a spike when Across the Universe was released.
TimeTube lets you pick a longer timespan – here’s fifty years. This really shows the limitations.
Everything clustered in the middle because YouTube didn’t exist until a short time ago. The fact that they let you open out your range to 20, 50, 100 years suggests that the upload date might not always be the way these things are generated? Or maybe it’s just a holdover from the original Dipity interface. The timelines created are dynamic and there’s no way to save them. There’s no account to create so you can’t find timeline buddies either.
Where this is useful now is for topics, like “olympic torch protests” where people upload their videos right away after an event happens. Or to track the zeitgeist when something emerges out of nowhere to become the next big thing. Or as a fun browsable interface for a YouTube keyword search.