Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tags: A reading and listening list

We're doing tagging and folksonomies tomorrow on the Library 2.0 Gang podcast. I'm busy reading the stuff I "should" have read before. I'll blog some reactions later. In brief, I think most academic LIS articles do not "get" tags. Coming from an academic background—albeit another one—this surprised me. The stuff you're supposed to read is broken.

So, here is my recommended list—what it takes to really understand tags, ontologies, classifications and "what is going on with knowledge."
  • Clay Shirky, "Ontology is Overrated." Available as audio and text. The audio is more fun. Academic articles usually cite this, but neither refute nor confront his arguments.
  • David Weinberger, address to the LC (audio) on why "everything is miscellaneous" (the title of his upcoming book). Weinberger is a philosopher and author, now at Harvard's Berkman center.
  • David Weinberger, "Messiness is a virtue" (audio). A lengthy, intellectual and, yes, messy slice from his upcoming book.
  • David Weinberger, another slice, if the last one went down easy.*
*I am a fan of Weinberger, and keep saying so in blog contexts, but I want to distance myself a bit. He is right right right about tags, and wrong wrong wrong about politics! No doubt there are many other subjects on which we might disagree—different kinds of food, plane travel versus train travel, that sort of thing. I'm not intellectually crushing on him, really.

2 Comments:

Anonymous jillmwo said...

Tim: Given the emphasis on controlled vocabularies and taxonomies in library science, I don't think it is surprising that tagging hasn't been big in library circles. Most librarians with whom I've spoken see value in tags for purposes of personal retrieval but inefficient as a mechanism for capturing relevant content from a larger data set.

7/25/2006 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Jane Hyde said...

Yeah, but isn't that just what the folks here are saying? I just listened to Clay Shirky's talk (thanks, Tim!) and loved it. I'm beginning to loosen up a bit these days in my school library, not worrying so much about the controlled subject headings -- because what's keyword search for, if not for maximizing the possibility of finding what someone wants.

9/11/2006 9:56 PM  

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