November 2, 2007

IL2007: Folksonomies and Tagging

(Catching up on my last few posts!)

Tom Reamy, KAPS Group (Knowledge Architecture Professional Services)

Libraries & the Hive Mind

Essentials of, Improving the quality of, and In libraries

advantages: simple, lower cost of categorization, open ended, higher relevance (to the user), support serendipitous browsing, can tag anything, and it's always better than nothing at all! (what if it's bad or incorrect tags?)

disadvantages: quality. Hard to find with unstructured tags; no structure, no conceptual relationships. Issues of scale, limited applicability. Errors keep cropping up, makes it even less useful.

Dangers of Folksonomies: The Unwisdom of Crowds

Popularity can drown out quality

KAPS did a multi-year study to see if social networking has improved folksonomies; result is, not so far.

faceted navigation: combines strength of having structure with the ability to support personal perspectives - big advantages of a folksonomy

flickr: over 90% of the tags cover 6 basic facets; less than 1% cover subject matter. topics, not facets. findability a big problem here.

improving the quality: cluster tags, add broad general taxonomy (natural categorization), evolve the quality of tags.

librarything: turns out book people aren't any better at tagging! (Ha!)

Doesn't think traditional library strategies are going to work, nor will social networking efforts (good for socializing, not tagging).

What might work: semantic infrastructure and evolution, integrated evolving solution, new relationships

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