I am currently participating in IGF 2014 remotely via the Internet. One of the sessions I was following was the best practices forum for local content. I observed that the different speakers had three main points they wanted to press: caches, libraries and metadata. For some reasons of the importance of local content, have a look at this.
On the level of Internet infrastructure, the actual physical place where the data is stored may cause a lot of unwanted problems. For example, there may be a lot of data that is meant for local use and has only local interest, but that is stored globally (non-locally). This creates unnecessary traffic from the local source to the global storage, which, in turn, creates costs that could be eliminated by bringing back the data to local storage. Or, there is content that has global interest, but that is physically so far that the connection speeds drop down. One of the solutions to this is the usage of caches. They are physically local, but provide access to global data. Therefore, caches enable the easy transition from global to local.
A step up from the physical layer, there is the “protocol level”, if I may use the term, namely that of metadata. Local content usually has local metadata. Language barriers may become a tool for Internet fragmentation, which should be avoided. The solution, for both keeping the locality of the content, but also making it globally reachable, is making the metadata multilingual. Multilingual metadata enables an easy transition from local to global.
The two points above are about the transition between global and local. This transition is necessary for the de-fragmentation of Internet.
Further up the layers, arriving to the content layer, we have one institution that is very important in collecting and providing information about the local content: libraries. As they are already cultural institutions, they have the basic knowledge on how to collect relevant local content. They have, though, usually been very bad in advertising their knowledge and the repositories or portals of content gathered.