Tagging, tag clouds and folksonomies

A key feature of many new technologies applications is the use of tagging. Tagging uses natural language to add tags (or keywords) to photos or bookmarks, making them easier to retrieve. Each item also has a list of tags that other people have used, which may assist in discovering further relevant items.

Another name for this use of tagging is folksonomy. A folksonomy allows individuals to categorise web resources using free text, rather than classifying them using a structured indexing language.

An example of how tagging can be used is seen in Flickr. Flickr is a social networking service for storing and sharing photos. It allows you to load photos and add tags to them so that other people can find them.

'A tag cloud (more traditionally known as a weighted list in the field of visual design) is a visual depiction of content tags used on a website. Often, more frequently used tags are depicted in a larger font or otherwise emphasized, while the displayed order is generally alphabetical. Thus both finding a tag by alphabet and by popularity is possible. Selecting a single tag within a tag cloud will generally lead to a collection of items that are associated with that tag.'1

For examples of tag clouds see flickr and de.licio.us.

1. Tag cloud, [Online] Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_cloud [Accessed 10th June 2008. GMT 12:10:20].