What makes Folksonomies work?

If you read blogs or use any of the social bookmarking services like flickr and del.ici.ous, you already know about tags. Also known as categories or metadata, tags are used to describe content. Tags are used by services like technorati (a search engine for blogs) and other search services to locate blogs, articles and other documents on the web. Social bookmarking services let people easily tag a resource – an article, a book or anything else on the web. A resource with a lot of useful tags has a better chance of being found on the web.

Folksonomies are informal distributed classification systems. In this article, Folksonomies – Tidying Up Tags, Marieke Guy and Emma Tonkin provide some details on folksonomies work. They discuss how tags evolve through social networking into popular keywords and provide some interersting analysis. Finally they provide some guidelines on improving tags.

“At the moment, although there are no standard guidelines on good tag selection practices, those in the folksonomy community have offered many ideas. Ways in which tags may be improved are presented frequently on blogs and folksonomy discussion sites. In his article on tag literacy, Ulises Ali Mejias suggests a number of tag selection “best practices”. These include:

  • using plurals rather than singulars
  • using lower case,
  • grouping words using an underscore,
  • following tag conventions started by others and
  • adding synonyms.”

After reading these tips, I have gone back and made some changes to my own categories and discovered another great feature of word press. You can just type your category name and the category slug automatically converts this into the recommended format.

2 thoughts on “What makes Folksonomies work?”

  1. Hi Miranda,
    In addition try the following:

    Creating a network of your friends on del.icio.us
    digg.dot.us – this site aggregates news from digg.com, slashdot.com and del.icio.us

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