Posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2005
Tagging – it’s where the action is right now. At it’s heart, it’s like all great technology ideas; so simple that you wonder why it hasn’t been a mainstream concept for years.
If you’re new to it, tagging is nothing more than assigning keywords to a piece of content, usually at the point of publication. A good example is the photo site flickr. When I upload a photo to the site I choose some words which are appropriate to describe the picture. These usually take the form of place names, people or objects found in the photo.
This is all about simple yet rich metadata, and it’s suprisingly effective. On flickr, for example, it’s now trivial for me to go back and view all my photos of wood, or those depicting Half Dome in Yosemite.
Apply the concept across a diverse group of photographers, and you get a collaborative picture of Half Dome which is built from the combined micro-efforts of each photographer to apply the tag.
Tagging, of course, doesn’t just have to be about photos. delicious uses the same concept to categorise bookmarks, and we’re even starting to see blogging tools that allow users to apply tags to their posts.
As a descriptive mechanism and a search tool, tagging is incredibly powerful. It is not, however, a “folksonomy”. Here’s why.