New IMDB Feature: Characters

October 12th, 2007

I can’t believe this new IMDB feature slipped by me. If you’re reading this blog, then I assume you have at least an inkling of an idea of what IMDB is. If not, it’s the Internet Movie DataBase and contains info about movies, actors, directors, producers, etc. Pretty handy, if you want to know everything about movies and tv as I do.

IMDB has two main cornerstones: Name pages, for all the people (actors, producers, etc) and Title pages for, ehm, all the titles (movies, tv-series, videogames, etc). Last week they added a new type of page to the mix: Character pages. Every character from a movie or tv-series or video game can have their own page including biography, quotes and appearances. The IMDB staff have already created 20000 character pages of the most well-known characters, but the idea is that users can add and edit pages.

This feature starts to get interesting when considering characters that appear in multiple series/movies or have been played by different people. For instance, did you know that Ursula Buffay, the sister of Phoebe in Friends first appeared in Mad About You? Or that Jack Ryan, a main character in books of Tom Clancy, has been portayed by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck?

Sadly, I have noticed some problems with this new feature. Because the content is user generated, you only need one lazy user to create a new page for someone who already exists. IMDB gives a nice disclaimer:

The content of this page was created by users. It has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.

But does this mean that there are also pages that are screened and verified? I’ve already stumbled on multiple pages for one person (King Arthur) and I wonder how IMDB will deal with this.

It’s an interesting new feature and it gives IMDB that extra dimension to create an even more complex network. If you’re looking to procrastinate, you can easily spend some time just clicking from one page to another. Don’t look at me like that; I never do that ! 😉