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Tagging the Tags... Process, Observations and Analysis of Conversations in Metatagging at an ASIST Interactive Poster Session

Jennifer Graham and June Abbas

(Submission #69)


Summary

As Abbas and Graham (2006) have pointed out, “information professionals have long understood that good metadata shrinks the chasm between user and resource”. Tagging, or user-defined metadata, is the hottest trend in the organization of digital resources, especially in the ever-evolving world of “Web 2.0”. The once inviolable processes of subject analysis, classification and organization are now in the hands of individuals and communities – developing their own evolving vocabularies in the process. The result is a revolution in the way we approach linking people to information that includes those very people in the process. Given the rise of such tagging oriented web-based repositories as Flickr!, del.icio.us, and Library Thing, there is no doubt tagging has caught on. But from this trend emerges several important considerations for practitioners, educators and researchers: What are the motivations and uses for tagging? What are the implications of opening up metadata creation to individuals and communities? While tagging may indeed be increasingly popular and even enjoyable, is it actually successful in linking users to valuable resources? And finally, what other questions and concerns about tagging and further research areas are being articulated by the information science community? These are launching points for some conversations that are just beginning in the world of library and information science (LIS) scholarship, as well as continuations of decades old debates. In an interactive poster presentation conducted at the ASIST National Conference and Meeting in Austin, Texas in November 2006, we accessed the conference community of LIS scholars and practitioners to pose and attempt to address these questions. This paper presents findings of the content analysis conducted on the conversations gathered by the presenters during this interactive poster session.

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