Friday, June 19, 2009

A little light reading on Folksonomies

I came across this article on First Monday on Folksonomies a while back but I never really got around to reading it until now.

It is an interesting article and if you have some time go and read it. It gives the uninitiated a brief look at organization of information in the past, and how folksonomies differ from what has come before them.

It seems to me that the criticism of folksonomies are a little snooty given by this example:

Yet not everyone was convinced that folksonomies would deliver on this promise. The absence of rules in assigning tags has been feared to lead to quality problems, including imprecision, overlap, duplication, ambiguity, and erroneous identification (Dotsika, 2007; Guy and Tonkin, 2006). Others expressed doubt that user–generated tags would ever “organically arrive at preferred terms for concepts, or even evolve synonymous clusters” (Rosenfeld, 2005). With no guidelines for tag production, what was there to prevent all that potentially useful information out there from being tagged with broadly non–useful identifiers such as “mydog,” “readlater,” or “vacationpics”?



I don't disagree with what is said, I just think that people are failing to take into account that tagging is, after all, a way to organize YOUR personal collection of items. Who cares if I tag a photo of my dog as "Rex", "MyDog", "MyNinthDog" or something else? If it has meaning to me, then who cares? I do realize the need for a controlled vocabulary, and people who do this type of tagging for institutions can wrap their heads around it, but for personal use (like del.icio.us) there is no need to be snooty :-)

All things considered - good article. Go read it (or at least bookmark it for future reference)
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