ASIS&T 2013 Annual Meeting 
Montréal, Québec, Canada | November 1-5, 2013

Tagging Personal Information: A Contrast between Attitudes and Behavior

Ofer Bergman, Bar-Ilan University
Noa Gradovitch, Bar-Ilan University
Judit Bar-Ilan, Bar-Ilan University
Ruth Beyth-Marom, Open University of Israel

Tuesday, 3:30pm


This paper relates to a previous study which tested users' folder vs. tag preferences in personal information management with systems that allow for both options (the behavioral study). In the current study we asked participants about their attitudes towards tags by using a questionnaire (N = 168). We then compared the results regarding attitudes gathered in this study with the ones of the behavioral study. Overall, results showed positive attitudes towards tagging and multiple classification. These finding are in sharp contrast with the behavioral study which showed clear preference for folders and single classification: Our participants tended to agree with statements such as “most people use folders only due to habits” and “if users were taught to use tags they would prefer them over folders", and thought that in 20 years children born today will use mostly tags; however in the behavioral study in which participants were taught to use tags there was a clear preference for folders over tags. Most participants in the present study thought that giving several classifications to personal information is a good idea, while the behavioral study's results showed that even when tags were used, multiple classification was exceptional. Furthermore, our participants tended to agree that “the use of tags is more efficient than folder use” while in the behavioral study retrieval was faster without tags. We conclude this paper with suggestions regarding future research.