Have you ever tagged an image in Flickr, a link in Del.icio.us, a video in YouTube? Have you used tags in these systems to find similar pictures or pages or videos? Is tagging is taking indexing away from professional indexers, and putting it into the hands of amateurs. Have you used a tag to indicate that you want to read something in the future? Is tagging a threat to indexing, or is it developing into a complementary way of collecting information about an object?
A study on tags, Patterns and Inconsistencies in Collaborative Tagging Systems: An Examination of Tagging Practices (pdf) – via Gary Price, explores the use of tags from a scientific perspective.
A co-word analysis of tagging practices, therefore, could provide insight into the patterns that are emerging through these practices, and the extent to which they are consistent with, and supportive of, conventional indexing and classification practices. Equally important, such an analysis might well show important differences between user tagging and conventional indexing: differences which indexers would do well to notice.
Some interesting observations within the paper. I’ll be thinking a little more about the tags that I use now that I’ve read it.
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