Week 4

I surprisingly enjoyed reading Baca’s piece this week. I thought it was very interesting actually reading through somewhat of a “manual” type piece and learn how to properly catalog cultural objects and the items to take into consideration when doing so. There is a specific set of criteria that one should include to make an effective catalog. Throughout the reading, I couldn’t help but to think that there are lots of things that closely resemble a catalog we use on an everyday basis.

One example is IMDb, the website that we refer to for movie ratings, celebrities, and other television and film entertainment information. Though people are not objects, it has the same structure. If we type in a celebrity name, it lists all of the movies they have starred in, what role, with whom, any awards they have received, and associated record labels. For more popular celebrities, it will have their birthday, ethnicity, place of birth, their family, height information. The larger the celebrity, the more information they will have. In turn, some actors who have only taken on small roles have very bare pages, if even a page at all.

This setup of a site like IMDb also fosters the hierarchal relationship described in Baca’s piece. On IMDb’s homepage, it will highlight pages on more relevant celebrities, movies, and things that are new.Those of more “importance” or in this example, “popularity” or “relevance,” will take precedence over smaller stars. When we look at a movie, the actors are listed from main to smaller roles. Even within smaller roles, those who are more popular will be listed first. There are different classifications within works- whether it be an independent movie, straight to DVD work, and producer, actor, or songwriter to name a few.

All of these relationships are linked together so we can see it as a network, much like connections between artistic or cultural works in a catalog, as Baca describes. Of course, this is not a catalog, as it is created through user contribution., however, there are some characteristics that resemble the factors described in the reading, as many may not realize.

2 thoughts on “Week 4”

  1. I’ve never thought of it that way, especially your IMDB example, but I think you’re right. It is very much a catalog in itself, except it is for film instead of art/objects. I think thats a good way to think about the cataloging process by providing an example that most people are familiar with. I was really overwhelmed by the amount of detail and data and specificity that goes into cataloging, and this kind of put me at ease a bit about the process in that I already interact with “catalogues” already in my everyday life without realizing it.

    1. Another interesting thing to look at is the fact that as we go through our everyday life, we are constantly cataloging. We even learn by cataloging. We associate “chair” with a picture of a chair, with the action of sitting, with any experiences we’ve had with chairs, for example. Our brains are, in a lot of ways, just databases that are constantly being added to.

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