Tags vs index cards

A lovely post from the God-like Dave Weinberger the other day, taking someone to task for missing the point of folksonomy. 

Folksonomy is where users tag content as they want, as opposed to content owners applying taxonomy, i.e. tagging it “properly”. It’s one of the ways that social content gets more useful as time goes on.

A commenter, Thay Singh, made a brilliantly concise point:

Your redaction of the text introduces a particularly interesting tension between folksonomies and taxonomies which I’ve not particularly noticed before – even though I worked at a major online content provider on this very topic. In building a taxonomy of documents, the librarian tries to capture the *author’s* intent; but in a folksonomy of the same documents you capture the the *reader’s* understanding. This is a subtle and important difference.

It certainly is.

That’s the beauty of tagging. The user is always right. What the author meant? Interesting, but that’s all.



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