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Blog & Me

A master’s student at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, I’ve been assigned the task of contributing to a commons/open source project for a class called Commons-Based Peer Production. As a music fan and critic, I chose a project called MusicBrainz.

Founded by Robert Kaye as a response to Gracenote’s appropriation of commons-built CDDB, MusicBrainz is a open source, user-contributed database of music metadata. Unlike FreeDB, a similar project, MusicBrainz relies on users to build relationships between entities, group releases, correct spelling, and more, resulting in a robust system that’s like an encyclopaedia of metadata for music. Artist entries include links to corresponding Wikipedia entries, further bolstering the usefulness of MusicBrainz in finding information on music.

Anyone can use the data in MusicBrainz, which is either public domain or licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike 2.0. In addition to the connection to Wikipedia, many open source media players have incorporated MusicBrainz functionality into their players. MusicBrainz also supplies the music metadata to BBC Music.

As a MusicBrainz contributor, or editor, my participation will include the following:

  • fixing typos and capitalization issues consistent with the community-established style guide;
  • tracking and voting on edits made to a list of my favorite artists, to which I “subscribe” and receive notification of changes;
  • working on community-identified “Cleanup of the Month” projects;
  • rewriting some of the site text, including the History page (proposed draft will go here;
  • building relationships between entities;
  • add folksonomic tags to artists;
  • adding missing Amazon SINs and Wikipedia links for artists; and
  • linking to lyrics at LyricWiki, and completing missing lyrics for adopted artists;
  • adminstering a survey of MusicBrainz users and contributors;
  • adding releases that are not yet in the database.

In addition to these contributions, I am also considering updating the MusicBrainz Wikipedia entry as well as any artist entries I come across that are of poor quality.

This blog/site will serve first and foremost as a place for me to chronicle my contributions, research, and experience working on the project and interacting with the community.

Header photo via [nati]:

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