Common Craft: Social Bookmarking in Plain English

Tagging: Label and Share it Your Way!

Tagging is the process of assigning keywords (‘tags’) to an image, webpage, or article so that you can conveniently find it later. Internet use of the word "tag" may have its origins in urban gang culture. When urban gangs do "tagging," however, most of us would desctribe it as graffiti! When library users do their own tagging, the process is sometimes described as folksonomy.

Tags give us the opportunity to use our own personal vocabularies. A professional cataloger describing a cookbook using Library of Congress Subject Headings would apply the subject heading ‘cookery.’ But a library user adding tags would probably use ‘cookbooks,’ ‘recipes,’ or some other commonly-used terms. User tagging is so popular that some libraries now make their collections searchable through a combination of Library of Congress Subject Headings and user-created tags.

Library records are not the only items you might wish to tag! Shared tagging really started to take off in 2003 when users began to share tags for websites. At about the same time, Flickr users starting tagging their photographs, and now Facebook Friends "tag" each other in online photos. Book lovers joined in the social tagging trend with the launch of LibraryThing in 2005.

You can read more about the history and vocabulary of tagging in Wikipedia.

Class Resources

During SPLAT 101’s "Tagging Week," I will available for SPLAT 101 "office hours" using IM. If you have questions or comments, please send me a message weekdays between 10 a.m. and noon, Pacific time. My IM addresses are listed in the SPLAT Members profile at the left side of your screen. I’ll look forward to hearing from you! –Ruth Funabiki

For your first assignment, visit some popular tagging websites. Then, create a few tags for your own use. Enjoy!

If you are not a regular user of the following sites, please visit each of them now:

Then, check out these two library sites! The first link points to a catalog that includes a tagging feature while the second goes to a library’s account for the public.

Class Assignment

Create a LibraryThing account and add five titles. For each title, add at least three tags that you might use. Then blog about your experience at the Idaho Commission for Libraries’ new website.

Extra Credit

Create a account for yourself and tag 10 of your "Favorites" from home or work.