> Over the weekend I had the opportunity to chat with a friend about
> "tagging" -- a sort of self- keyword cataloging as implemented by
> del.icio.us and flikr.
> I'm wondering, to what degree does this group here think tagging
> would be beneficial in Library Land? For example, we could allow
> tagging to be done against items in a library catalog or against
> a personalized collection of Internet resources. If it were
> beneficial, then how would y'all implement it?
I do see some potential benefit, in that patrons who are knowledgable
about a given topic might make connections that a cataloger wouldn't, or
tag with topic-specific jargon and such.
But I also see a greater potential for introducing erroneous data that
have the appearance of legitimacy - ranging from misinformed inaccuracy
(e.g. every comedy song on the Internet labelled as "Wierd Al Yankovich")
to deliberate bias (e.g. Wikipedia edit wars; Google-bombing the keywords
"dumb mother------" to point to Bush's website) to just plain vandalism
(e.g. obscenities or vanity tags on popular categories).
While this is less of an issue for sites that are obviously
community-driven (like the ones you mention above) and can be expected to
reflect the opinions of that community, a library catalog is primarily a
fact-driven thing and, as such, needs to take care in allowing open
end-user additions. No matter how well you delineate the user-supplied
data, you can bet that the person who takes offense at someone's tag will
also be the one with a spectacular failure of comprehension as to its source.
Although automated filtering could be implemented to block obscenities and
the like, you get into the same issues that you have with internet
filtering, and then some. Do you block the tag "Dick Cheney" on a
politcal title because of his name? Does it recognize that someone is
systematically tagging books on the Holocaust with Neo-Nazi codewords?
Has my straw-man caught fire yet? ;-)
In short, is this a can of worms that a smaller/understaffed institution
wants to open?