Gone to the Dogster: Dog-jects, Doggie Meta-Data??

UIh-oh, I am going to be busy now. From Ben Hammersley by way of Stephan Downes (who is a cat-person) comes a reference to Dogster ( “catster.com” is registered but no site is there!).

Welcome to Dogster
…where every dog has a webpage. Dogster lets you view and save photos of dogs, search by breed, size, name, hometown and more!

Search by Friendliest, Newest or Site Favorites. See who is Dog of the Week, read the dog advice column I Like it Ruff, or check out the Barking Dog Newswire. If that’s not enough, click Random Order and sniff virtual butt all day.

Read about maintaining paw in who is the spoiler? you or me? – the newest entry in I Like It Ruff and congratulations Woodstock you’re Dog of the Week. Finally, a special bark out to Singapore who is now the biggest contingency outside of North America! Bark bark!

Very quickly, I was able to make entries for Mickey, the CDB mascot, as well as his card-playing sister, Cadu. Will have to return to add some of our dogs that have gone on to Rainbow Bridge, Fudge, Skamper, and Dominoe.

Okay, so maybe you might think that Dogster is right up there with all of the other whacko web sites (like Pigeon Search, CheeseNet, or Mike the Headless Chicken for President) “places I cannot people spend so much time frittering about”– BUT…

Think of every entry on dogster representing a real-world item, e.g. what if they were like learning objects? dog objects?”dog-jects”? Dogster has a simple interface, a metaphor used consistently, it is inviting and fun to a lay person (e.g. it was not designed for a library scientist).

Think of all the info on the dogster profile as… meta-data? It is! It is structured information that describes the “object”, the dogs. It includes media (photos). best of all, the entry of the meta-data is simple, a web form that takes but a few minutes to complete.

Furthermore, the dogster, ties together the dog-jects in automatic and user customizable ways- all of the dogs I enter are automatically associated with each other, (“Meet Mickey’s Family:) without any need for me to create the associations. You can build your own custom collections of favorite dog-jects (“Add Mickey to Your Corral”), referrals (“Tell a friend about Mickey”). The dog-jects are searchable, and there are dynamic views (“random”, “newest first”, “longest on site”, “frendliest”). Okay there is no RSS, but it would take about an hour for them to add that.

So Dogster does a lot of things right that so-called “Learning Object Repositories” miss- ease of use, inviting metaphor, recombine information in flexible ways, fun, intuitive interface, database backend, simple meta-data entry… But most of all, there is a personal motivating reason to enter dog-jects– after all there are 4316 there now (Feb 2004) and the first one was posted only in July 2003.

I have gone to the dogs….

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.