Folksonomy

Another word that I’m coming to understand, but probably not appreciate as much as I should. “Folksonomy” is a cross between “folk” and “taxonomy.” It is a way for folks (i.e., non-librarians?) to provide simple metadata (usually single words) for pictures, web sites, or other web content. For me, the important issue is that this metadata, sometimes called tagging, can be created at the time of need — there is no list to check — no authority.

Tagging is becoming very popular on sites like Flickr (a site for uploading and sharing photographs), del.icio.us (a site for creating and sharing bookmarks), and Technorati (a search engine for blogs). Each of these sites shows you the most popular tags used across their sites. However, they show you in a visual way. Check these:

What rubs me the wrong way, of course, is that there is no authoritative list of terms. So, what if I wanted to find all the information on dogs? I’d need to search dog, dogs, canine, canines, puppy, puppies, and all of the breeds — just to start. As a librarian, I want all the information I can find — I’ll sort it out later. Others, however, are saying that any metadata is better than no metadata. They have a point.

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