Linguist Geoff Nunberg comments on the poor general quality of metadata in Google Books, and why that’s a problem.
It’s a tough problem: if you do things (like scanning entire libraries) at Google-scale, you just can’t pay attention to the details. One partial way out (which Geoff mentions) is to allow users to submit corrections, as Google Maps does for positions of placemarks.
The article addresses a number of important points about the provenance and usefulness of metadata, and Google employees provide some great comments and discussion.
(Via Brad DeLong).