As I me mentioned in one of my recent posts, I just read Gene Smith’s book: Tagging: People-Powered Metadata for the Social Web. Great overview of tagging for both practice as well as some more detailed professional work. Lots of good stuff in the book, including a discussion about tags (of course), taxonomies, folksonomies, metadata, controlled vocabulary, and countless examples to illustrate his work. Speaking at times in the voice of a teacher and at other times as a software developer, I feel I have a better understanding of tag clouds and how useful these features can be from a personal as well as social media perspective. In the process of reading this, I decided to begin using the tagging feature built-into WordPress, as now I think in the long-term this will be useful for me as well as my colleagues. Score one for Gene’s persuasion.
One of the topics Gene mentioned involved using capital letters, abbreviations, and underscores / hyphens. His suggestion that the decision about how to handle this issue should be addressed at the beginning. I thought this was good advice, but for my own use I wish he would have suggested what he recommends in this case (in the teacher voice, not the developer voice). I understand the differences between various formats, such as: New York, new york, NY, ny, New_York, new-york, etc., but I am not sure which option(s) I should use. I could have used some end-user guidance here as opposed to be left to discern all my options. In this case, I find myself being inconsistent in how I tag my own blog posts and Flickr images, as I tend to second-guess how others may search for and use the tags.
This is one of the questions I will ask him when I listen to his presentation at Northern Voice next week. I just learned that Gene will be presenting at Internet Bootcamp as well, so it will be nice to meet him so close to my finishing his book.
I think this book will do well, as I can only imagine tagging options and needs to increase in the future. As much as consistent tags seem like a good idea, I often find myself thinking about terms and usage in different ways from other people. No wonder I am a qualitative researcher!