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Information in Social Systems

Posted in Research

  • Project Type: Individual
  • Deliverable: Case Study through Interview Method
  • Course: SI 500
  • Status: Completed

This case study looks at the representation of classical music and its metadata in iTunes Store in an attempt to identify underlying metadata issues in regards to information overload. For the purposes of the study, information overload is defined as the disconnect between the available information and its consumer affecting access and decision-making by the consumer.

A total of 9 participants were recruited for a task-based interview where they were asked to retrieve a specific album in iTunes Store using basic information of the recording. The analysis of the data focuses on critical incidents, loosely guided by Flanagan’s Critical Incident Technique, especially given the small sample size.

The major findings are around the structure and the robustness of the metadata, and consequent UI limitations. The amount of information that accompany a classical recording in a traditional medium, such as a CD, is almost always more than that in an online medium, such as an iTunes Store album. Given the prevalence of repetition in classical repertoire, the truncation, omission, and consolidation of metadata can create significant challenges to the end user.

consolidation 1 consolidation 2

The artist-song-album relationship of a typical contemporary music album lacks the additional level of depth required in representing classical music information, which can be the cause of over consolidation.

hierarchy 2 hierarchy 1

For more details on the recommendations and methodology, please see the full report.


Full Report