Wired Piece on Tagging

By | February 21, 2005

It’s a few days old now, but for those of you who didn’t see it, an interesting overview of tagging from Wired (‘Folksonomies Tap People Power’):

“The job of tags isn’t to organize all the world’s information into tidy categories,” said Stewart Butterfield, one of Flickr’s co-founders. “It’s to add value to the giant piles of data that are already out there.”

The piece also quotes Thomas Vander Wal, coiner of the word ‘folksonomy’, as making a distinction between broad and narrow folksonomies, and how the two are unrelated:

In a broad folksonomy, Vander Wal continued, there is the benefit of the network effect and the power curve because so many people are involved. An example is the website of contemporary design magazine Moco Loco, to which 166 Delicious users had applied the tag “design.”

But 44 users had also assigned the URL the tag “architecture,” 28 “art,” 15 “furniture” and so on. That means that because so many people applied so many different tags to Moco Loco’s site, it could be located in a number of different ways.

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