4 thoughts on “User-based tagging – creating chaos or a new order?

  1. I think tagging and classification are different horses for very different courses. Whilst the role of classification has change due to digital objects being ‘placed’ in more than one place (unlike the traditional book), there is still a role for classification where a high level of recall is important.

    …and if you’re after some light weekend reading on tagging, why not try this

  2. I seem to have read this somewhere before (!)

    Now how about user-based tagging the Local Studies collection? No more searching the catalogue for “Pubs” when the correct terminology is “Inns” (get it right); it would be great.

  3. I’ve long believed that, when it comes to tagging, social trumps personal. Personal tagging is a lot of investment for minimal return. Shared personal tags are more interesting, but they are sparse and inconsistent. Hence, a social tagging system has to strive toward consistency–whether through automatic or manual means–in order to create real value. That’s why Wikipedia works–scores of editors (and some bots) acting as wiki-gardeners.

    It’s also the basis of work that my colleagues and I at Endeca did with the folks at the ACM on bootstrapping on user-supplied tags to create a better-tagged collection. Learn more in the HCIR ’08 proceedings: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/ryenw/hcir2008/

  4. I firmly believe that a combination of user-based tagging and a controlled vocabulary could be a very useful form of information retrieval. It has the advantage of language that reflects the understanding of the end user, plus the ensured commonality that comes with a degree of control. Delicious already achieves this by pointing users to ‘recommended tags’ once an item has been bookmarked a certain amount of times, this helps to ensure consistency amongst tags. I think either element (tagging and controlled vocabularies) on its own is not a desirable way to go forward. A combination of the two is the most workable solution.

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