As a writer inexperienced in writing for a blog, I have been faced with some of the medium-specific challenges.
The software in which this post is written makes authoring metadata a central part of the writing process, which is not something that I have before considered (having for the most part avoided IAML paper on this topic). Choices about what tags and categories are most appropriate to use have raised questions about the objects of research at the moment of writing [insert IAML tag]. As my experience in working in this medium increases I am finding more and more that the questions I am formulating relate to choices about tags and categories. Both forms of metadata are necessary to enable me and other readers to navigate posts of the blog, and also to facilitate links with other blogs on wordpress.
For example, when writing the tags for the post ‘Advertisement for the 1965 WCSS‘ I first listed all the people mentioned. For some this was straightforward (Birtwistle, for example), for others this was less certain, such as for Michael Thomas. Where Birtwislte’s surname is distinctive enough that it is instantly recognizable, and anyone searching for him using his surname will most likely find content related exclusively to him, it is much less likely that a search for ‘Thomas’ will yield results for Michael Thomas, and then it will be unlikely to return Michael Thomas the harpsichordist.
A further challenge is posed by Tallis. Tallis’ name has come up frequently in my research of the WCSSs, most often in connection with his ‘Motet in forty parts’. In tagging the works mentioned on this blog I was faced with the question: how do I identify this work? On one hand I am trying to preserve the terminology of the sources, so as not to elide potentially useful observations, and at the same time I am anxious that someone trying to find information about Tallis’ piece will come across my posts.
My methodology includes Faubion’s call that research is concerned with ‘problematizing inquiry and conceptualizing its objects’. The medium in which this research is taking place, with its immediate emphasis on writing metadata, suggests that an avenue of inquiry might meaningfully pursue the position of Tallis’ work within the position of the UK’s concert life. A quick search revealed this NMC note, which clarifies things significantly. Anthony Burton: ‘In short, Tippett had arrived on the British musical scene – a process in which no small part had been played by the recordings on this disc [which includes Spem in alium]’. 1
It is exciting to be researching in a new medium (for me) that so immediately throws up questions to pursue and which can potentially connect with others. It’s also immediately rewarding to find others arriving at this blog by way of my tags. With wordpress giving this information as part of the blog’s statistics there is an immediate incentive to carefully consider each post’s metadata.
Having decided some categories that seemed useful for the blog, this post suggests a new one is needed. How many new ones are usefully added? Still, not much danger that the scale of this map will become 1:1.