Annual Meeting Contributed Papers 2009 START Conference Manager    

Book Tagging on LibraryThing: How, why, and what are in the tags?

Peishan Bartley

(Submission #28)


The purpose of this exploratory research is to understand book tagging by investigating LibraryThing (LT) membersí purposes for tagging; exploring how tags are used; and comparing member assigned tags with MARC records. The findings show that LT members tag mostly for personal reasons, especially to manage their own collection, but they also tag to assist others to find a book. Once assigned, LT members use the tags to search and retrieve books, to gain information about books, and most importantly, to assist with personal collection management. Unlike on other tagging systems, LT members do not perceive social networking as an important factor at the time of tag assignment or tag usage. The study also finds that tags vary greatly from MARC records. When tags matched MARC records, the majority of the matching occurred with the 600s, and 245 fields. The findings of the study contribute to the understanding of how books are represented in LT membersí concept spaces, and have implication on how libraries could employ tags in OPACs.

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