Thursday, October 06, 2005

Reinventing the wheel?

Wired News: Tips for Top Taggers
After a few months of storing bookmarks online with tools like, many people find the tags they've used to categorize them are a hopeless mess. So what are the best methods for getting your tag taxonomy in order?

This article highlights the 2 main problems I see with tagging: the first is overclassification. People are trying to think of every possible tag that might fit a bookmark; what results is dilution of the overall effectiveness of tagging as signal-to-noise in a category gets stretched thin.

The second is inconsistency in tagging, both on a personal level and in the broader system. Tagging works best when you define a set of tags and stick to them, i.e. subject headings. It makes sense to use generally agreed-upon tags, especially if you're looking to gain influence in the social bookmarking world. But that very same influence-seeking can also result in overtagging as you try to game the system and get your bookmarks seen in as many categories as possible.

This is a major difference between cataloging and tagging - cataloging isn't a competition.


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