For our Institutional Repository here at UIUC, we've discussed adding
some basic "tagging" functionality into DSpace, to encourage
faculty/staff/students/outsiders to become more involved with the system
(and have more "personal" interactions with the system and with others
using the system).    By "tagging", I am referring to allowing everyone
(probably only "logged in" users) to add whatever tags they want to
whatever content/documents they want.  So, this is not the same as the
uncontrolled keywords during the Submission Process.

We've discussed even using these tags to attempt to enhance
searching/browsing in DSpace  (perhaps even trying to implement a
tag-cloud type of browsing), or even allowing users to create their own
"collections" of documents which are of interest to them (by creating
Tag Groups, or something similar).

We're hoping this will cause more interest in the system in general, and
create some better search terms than the Library or the
authors/submitters even thought of.  At the very least it should give a
wider variety of terms for similar concepts, which will hopefully help
people find what they are looking for a little easier.   Obviously,
there will be various useless terms that pop up (like the "me" tag in
Flickr).  But, we aren't so concerned with that, as long as we do
achieve some of the benefits we are hoping for.

Now, none of this has gone much beyond speculation/idea yet, but it is
something we're planning to research in much more detail during the next
6 months.   Right now, we have to concentrate on smaller extensions to
DSpace which are more immediately necessary to us

Tim Donohue

Ross Singer wrote:
> I'm confused as to why this argument /continually/ gets brought up in a
> library context, but not in, say, the outside world.
> doesn't seem to care much about these issue.  Nor does amazon.
> To think that amazon doesn't care about the 'integrity' of its data is
> ridiculous.  It's perfectly reasonable to delineate certain regions as 'user
> editable' (and therefore ignorable, if you so desire) without scrapping the
> entire concept.
> I don't think we're suggesting adding these tags or user-contributed content
> to the MARC record, just to the user experience.
> -Ross.
> On 3/8/06, Ian Nebe Barnett <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> Over the weekend I had the opportunity to chat with a friend about
>>> "tagging" -- a sort of self- keyword cataloging as implemented by
>>> 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?


Tim Donohue
Research Programmer, Illinois Digital Environment for
Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS)
52 Grainger Engineering Library
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

email: [log in to unmask]
phone: (217) 244-7809
fax:   (217) 244-7764