Friday, March 11, 2005

IA summit and Folksomomies

From a write-up of comments on Folksonomy from IA luminaries at the IA Summit. I agree with many of the reservations, but I reckon that in a controlled, corporate environment tagging could pay dividends:
1) it connects personal concepts with more social concepts (including organisational);
2) it offers a path for emergent terminology to be added to a more controlled vocabulary set;
3) it makes sure that some context is given to assets rather than leaving them free of metadata.
There are a number of other benefits, but I'm fairly sure that with a bit of work in extending folksonomies (such as mapping key tags to taxonomies, weighting of tag value by popularity for search, combining tags with boolean logic for context [like facetious's faceted approach] etc ...) they could offer a deal of value.
Aah! the IA Summit was clearly fertile ground - wish I could have been there, I've always fancied going to Montreal. Via the Community Engine Blog, news that IBM's taxonomy group is going to be doing pretty much what I'm talking about above. Although I don't see "folksonomies" as a silver bullet, I'm sure that they will have some impact on emerging terms and also on the ability of a company to keep tabs on the impact of its internal communication. For instance, assume that a company has launched an initiative called "BOB", tracking the emergence over time of the use of a BOB tag (and the items associated with it) could show the penetration of communication efforts as well as give an early warning of a waning in interest. All very interesting stuff - and let's hope IBM are successful.

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