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

A Tangle of Tags: The Impact of User-generated Tagging in Public Library Catalogs

Rachel Williams, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tuesday, 3:30pm


With the increased adoption of catalog packages such as Bibliocommons and Aquabrowser comes a need to investigate the ways in which folksonomic tools impact the amount and quality of user tagging in public library catalogs. This pilot study compares two public library catalogs from library systems in the Midwestern United States. The underlying goals of the investigation were to compare the two catalogs to see whether 1) pronounced differences between the folksonomies of user tags existed in both library catalogs, in number of tags for selected titles and scope/coverage of tags; and 2) how the tags from MPLS compare to the tags presented in Aquabrowser’s supplemental tag cloud and RPL and the implications inherent in these comparisons. Using the Book Industry Standard and Communications (BISAC) subject headings, user tags from the two library catalogs were coded and compared for scope and frequency. Results indicate that RPL, which uses Aquabrowser, has significantly more user tags that cover a broader scope than those of MPLS. Findings demonstrate the need for further consideration of user tagging in Web 2.0 catalogs.