The Treehouse + The Cave

The Treehouse + The Cave: The Collection <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src=""></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: '\x3d9561264\x26blogName\x3dThe+Treehouse+%2B+The+Cave\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3d\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3d\x26vt\x3d-2611371644715887499', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Collection

Delicious Library: Page 3 - Understanding the Market
What recreational purpose does a media collection serve? The consumption of the media itself is the obvious end result, but even there, shades of gray exist. A favorite song may be listened to hundreds of times spread over many years, but how many times is the average book read? Movies fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. A game's longevity and replay value depends on even more complex factors.

And yet these realities seem to have little effect on the relative sizes of each type of media collection. Book collections may dwarf music collections despite wildly differing frequencies of consumption. Some voracious readers may choose to get all their books from the library, but collect DVDs that they've only seen a few times each. I'm sure a few readers even know someone who has many more video games than either books or CDs (if not, check the gaming forum).

Clearly, the act of collection is an end in itself, at least to some degree. That's where a personal media library application has to focus, since it really has no participation in the actual consumption of the media.

Clues to the motivations and rewards collecting are not hard to find. Most media collections are not just stored, but are displayed somehow. Or if they are not displayed, then they are at least listed or otherwise enumerated.

In some ways, collections are a form of packaging for the collector. We judge others by what they choose to collect, and in turn expect ourselves to be judged based on the contents of our media collections. "What's on your iPod?" Even media that is only consumed a single time may still fulfill an important role by contributing to our public persona through it's mere presence in our collection. At the very far end of the spectrum are those who collect media that is never consumed. We have now entered the realm of The Collector, and he may not be as far outside your circle of friends as you think.

Digital collections present a problem because they have the potential to remove the traditional rewards of collecting. As an outward representation of your personality, a digital collection stored in a file on a hard disk fails miserably. Publishing and sharing these lists (e.g. playlists on your iPod or shared via iTunes) is a start, but it still falls short of the sublime satisfaction of the nicely displayed collection.
Text by John Siracusa

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