Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ontology of Folksonomy

Ontology of Folksonomy

Very interesting essay by Tom Gruber that gets to what I am coming to believe is a central point in the tagging debate:

The attack on "ontology" is really an attack on top down categorization as a way of finding and organizing information, and the praise for folksonomy is really the observation that we now have an entirely new source of data for finding and organizing information: user feedback. For the task of finding information, taxonomies are too rigid and purely text-based search is too weak. Tags introduce distributed human intelligence into the system.

The problem is that the anti-ontology camp misses the point (And does so "so beautifully", as the article puts it.) Gruber posits that the tagging enterprise is a systems engineering problem, not a classification one. Well worth reading.


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