On the importance of metadata

December 4th, 2005

A story in today’s NYT (Bush’s Speech on Iraq War Echoes Voice of an Analyst) points out that the author of the Bush administration’s “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.” document is Peter Feaver of Duke University. We know this thanks to the metadata embedded in the pdf:

“The role of Dr. Feaver in preparing the strategy document came to light through a quirk of technology. In a portion of the document usually hidden from public view but accessible with a few keystrokes, the plan posted on the White House Web site showed the document’s originator, or “author” in the software’s designation, to be “feaver-p.”

Moreover, if you look at the rdf metadata you can see that the document was originally titled Our National Strategy for Supporting Iraq before the PR experts got through with it.

By the way, I doubt that the NYT discovered the metadata — Google’s earliest result for “feaver_p” is from 30 November in the form of a comment on a Daily Kos post Daily Kos. Another example of how the blogosphere complements, and sometimes does the leg work for, the MSM.