Sign In

Communications of the ACM


The Power of Babble

The Power of Babble, illustration

Credit: Anton Watman

back to top 

Metadata defines the shape, the form, and how to understand our data. It is following the trend taken by natural languages in our increasingly interconnected world. While many concepts can be communicated using shared metadata, no one can keep up with the number of disparate new concepts needed to have a common understanding.

English is the lingua franca of the world, yet there are many facets of humanity and the concepts held by different people that simply cannot be captured in English no matter how pervasive the language. In fact, English itself has nooks, crannies, dialects, meetups, and teenager slang that innovate and extend its permutations with usages that usually do not converge. My personal idiolect shifts depending on whether I am speaking to a computer science audience, my team at work with its contextual usages, my wife, my grandkids, or the waiter at a local restaurant. Different communities of people extend English in different ways.


No entries found

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.
Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account