Sunday, July 17, 2005

Folksonomies?

(Or Metadata Hits the Mainstream)

The last week has seen a considerable discussion occur on 'folksonomies' on two different lists taxonomy@jiscmail.ac.uk and also at cetis-metadata@jismail.ac.uk .

Some issues that have come up in the lists:

Advantages:

- easy to find something according to what keyword is popular now
- good way to introduce people to metadata - it is more effective than not using tags at all, is easy to do and does help with retrieval
- good way to address *part* of the metadata puzzle - i.e. retrieval and resource discovery
- reflect an understanding of the subject from the community itself - the terms are not imposed - 'snapshots of the collective understanding/use of terms'
-it has implications for how 'standardisation' of metadata occurs; the meaning and concepts of terms change over time and taxonomies need to be able to reflect this
- it is possible to have an unmoderated intervention by the users
- the users can create their own taxonomy, rather than having to pick words from a pre-defined list (and how is that created?)
- it encourages multiple categorisation
- users are encouraged to make meaningful relationships between information resources for themselves
- users can create personal taxonomies - i.e. list of words which make sense them (personally I still use the term 'station' rather than 'calling point' on the railways; I fight the battle against US imperialism by insisting that I buy 'chips' in Ultimate Burger, rather than 'fries')
- folksonomies help with serendipity
- blog and wiki writers are using them

Disadvantages:

- Lack of synonym control
- variant spellings and punctuation
- does it simply lead to high recall but low precision?

Questions:

- can the folksonomy and the 'official' taxonomy work together?
- how would this be done?
- how are search engine logs being analysed and the terms which users there being incorporated?
- where in the ISPV does the term 'folksonomy' appear? : )


Edit-
James Melzer comments.

1 comment:

spillburt said...

They didn't mention my little app: SimilarThings

It uses tags to organize pages on a site.