ASIST on folksonomies and tagging

The Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology has a special section on Folksonomies in the October / November 2007 issue.  It contains the following articles:

  • Introduction: Folksonomies and Image Tagging: Seeing the Future? by Diane Neal, Guest Editor
    • Does a nice job of providing an overview of the topic, including making reference to a number of libraries that are using tagging at some level.
  • Why Are They Tagging, and Why Do We Want Them To? by P. Jason Morrison
  • Trouble in Paradise:  Conflict Management and Resolution in Social Classification Environments by Chris Landbeck
  • Image Indexing:  How Can I Find a Nice Pair of Italian Shoes? by Elaine Ménard
  • Flickr Image Tagging:  Patterns Made Visible by Joan Beaudoin

I like thinking about tags as a triple: the tag, the thing tagged (picture, website, etc), and the person doing the tagging.  With a large collection of these triples, there are all sorts of ways to analyze and traverse the data:

  • All tags associated with a given item or a given person.
  • All tags in common with a collection of items.
  • A tag cloud to shows frequency-of-occurrence of all tags (or all tags from a specific user).
  • All items tagged with the same tag as a tag on the current item. 
  • All items with a shared set of tags (one tag or multiple tags).
  • People who use the same tag(s).
  • And, of course, traversing a network from tag to person to item to person to tag, all pivoting on one corner of the triple or another.

I learned about this from Christina Pikas.  I am on a panel with Jessica Baumgart, Jordan Frank and Kris Liberman at the ASIS&T meeting in Milwaukee on Blogs and Wikis in the Corporate World.  The conference is happening now, and the panel is tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. 

2 Comment(s)

vanderwal said:

I have a lot of writings and presentations around folksonomy triples (I have been writing and presenting on this idea as folksonomy triad since late 2004), unfortunately much of it is scattered around the web. They are the corner stone for making sense, but the forth dimension is the corpus of co-occurance of tags around an object that have been supplied by one individual (ball, green, rubber, sphere) give a much better understanding of the object from one perspective and much more accurate understanding can take place from this perspective as well.

jackvinson Author Profile Page said:

Thomas- I suspect I first got the idea from you, since you've been talking about it for a while.

I don't know whether I'd call this a fourth dimension or simple yet another way to look upon the use of tags. Every person will have their own corpus of tags, and those tags and their usage somewhat unique to that person. Taken over time, I can see their perspective on objects based on how they tag them. I wonder if the same could be applied to groups that are tagging objects together.

I say this because Jordan Frank from Traction presented on the same panel, and he showed how some clients have implemented with tags that take on five very specific dimensions. So now the tag end of the triple gets expanded significantly, based on these commonly agreed-upon tags that have additional meaning in the entire group (project status being one of the specific types). With that agreed-upon structure, the group can then conduct operations that are relevant to them around the content and tags.

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