d.construct, Understanding Folksonomy (Tagging That Works)

A presentation by Thomas Vander Wal

  • Folksonomy is the result of personal, free tagging of pages and objects for one’s own retrieval.
  • Tagging is done in a social environment (it’s shared and open to others)
  • The act of tagging is done by the person consuming the information

These tags are important because people will use their own vocabulary to tag, which is meaningful to them. Tags can add perspective or context, and can make up for missing meta data.

The interesting things happen when you see tags in relation to the

Dual Folksonomy Triad:

[Thomas explained The Dual Folksonomy Triad]

People tag something within their own sphere of interest, but can then use that tag (in the form of a tag cloud search) to pivot and find material which other people have tagged in a similar fashion. Bonds and communities can form around these social groupings. Try following a tag trail in Flickr – you might be surprised where you end up!

There is always a tension between Consumer/Folksonomy vs Businees/Taxonomy. A business might wish to call their latest widget by the model name, MyFantasticWidget. But real consumers out there often refer to it quite differently, with emergent vocabulary. They might want to call it “DeadCoolWidget” instead. Business ignore such folksonomy at their peril.

I hope Thomas will post his slides to his blog in due course.

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