When is a tag not a tag?

Just catching up with my library news after my vacation last week, and discovered a couple of interesting blog posts that I wanted to comment on. I originally saw this from Jessamyn, but it originated with Jenny and was then picked up by Davey P’s weblog: a new opac interface that for some reason everyone is calling a “tag cloud.” Which, as far as I can tell, is wrong. This is a subject cloud, yes, but to me tagging is all about the folksonomic, the “consumer as creator” concept. The sort of thing I posted way back when….this is a clever way of viewing the frequencies of subject headings, but it’s not tagging and not a folksonomy.

I’d love to see an OPAC that allowed actual tagging to be done. I think it would tell us enormous amounts about our users, and would generate lots of ways that people use our catalog/view our resources that we could never have guessed.

Anyone want to try to whip that up as an add-on to their catalog? User-directed free form tagging, possibly even tied to accounts so that people can generate del.icio.us-like queries of the books they read…that’s what I want to see.


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