Folksonomy (user-generated taxonomy, i.e. classification) is the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content. In contrast to traditional subject indexing, metadata is generated not only by experts but also by creators and consumers of the content. Usually, freely chosen keywords are used instead of a controlled vocabulary.
Websites that support tagging and the principle of folksonomy are referred to in the context of Web 2.0 because participation is very easy and tagging data is used in new ways to find information. For example, tag clouds are frequently used to visualize the most used tags of a folksonomy.

Tommi Rantanen on tagging in University 2.0 - Enhancing communication and collaboration in universities (2007):

Tags can be saved into online accounts with descriptions and keywords, after which they are usually shared with other users. These collective tagging services, e.g., Digg and Technorati, provide an incentive to the most useful and interesting content on the Web. Tagging makes it easier to find relevant issues and to discover new linkages between information. Groups can also have joint tagging accounts, thus making it easier to follow for example colleagues' interests and find new significant information relating to the industry.

Tagging derives most value from the fact that people are not so much categorizing, as providing a means to connect items (placing hooks) to provide their own meaning in their own understanding.

For very a very instructive video tutorial on Tagging, see Tagging in Plain English on YouTube.

Benefits of Tagging:

  • Improves (re-)findability
    • Naming imposed from "above" vs. peoples vocabulary
  • Helps understand context
  • Easy sharing of information and resources through perspective
  • Cost effective way of building taxonomy / categorizations (bottom-up rather than imposed categories)
  • Improves information sharing between "silos" in organizations
  • Reveals the interests people have - can be used to locate experts on a subject
  • Encourages sharing and collaboration
  • Tag clouds reveal most visited sites
  • New search tool
    • One's own tags
    • Other's tags: Group, Everybody
      Tags can also be assigned '''privacy levels''', including:
  • Open to all
  • Open to community
  • Personal
  • Selective sharing, such as sending via email.

Social Bookmarking


Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata. In a social bookmarking system, users save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine.

For example is one of the most used social bookmarking services at the moment.

A YouTube video tutorial to the use and benefits of social bookmarking, see: Social Bookmarking in Plain English.

See also

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