The New Work of Composing

Composing with Metadata in Mind

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Standardization Layer

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In a “Standards in the Making” (SITM) approach, standards emerge and are contingent. The keyword “standards” that compose this layer of our project are certainly no different. Here we have drawn from our individually composed considerations of tagging systems (the Analysis Layer) and approaches to practice (the Synthesis Layer) to collectively designate the terms which have emerged as the organizing principles of the project itself. In other words, these entries are the metadata of this webtext—the terms which have come to describe the intersections of our otherwise divergent understandings of SITM itself. Thus, each keyword represents a concept that has become crucial to the analysis of emergent metadata standards and the critical practice of SITM in research, composition, and pedagogy.

Importantly, these emergent “standards” for critical SITM do not represent points of consensus between our different lines of inquiry. They do not indicate unproblematic heuristics or analytic terms which can be easily applied to any folksonomy or instance of standardization in digital information projects. More often than not, these terms designate productive dissonance. The term “Cultural Formation” for instance, certainly describes a common concern over the relations between forms of social power, issues of identity formation, and cultural narrative on the composition and reception of metadata standards in our work to this point. But where in the process of standardization can the role of culture can be felt and what are its ramifications? And in what ways can composing metadata be thought of as a cultural practice? Collectively, our investigations have provided a variety of answers to these types of questions, and we have sought to preserve and critically organize this plurality in each case. In this way, these entries serve to report our findings in each of these different areas, documenting residual questions, problematics and contingencies while describing how the concept itself organizes the stakes and investments of SITM in a particular way.

Keywords in the Standardization Layer: Affordances, Archive, Collaboration, Composition, Contingency, Cultural Formation, Materiality, Miscellaneous, Platform, Protocol, Rhetorical Situation, Serendipity