Folksonomies

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Picked up an interesting commentary from David Weinberger about Folksonomies in response to some criticism from the Taxonomy camp. Fully agree with David’s comments. Based on experience I’ve had in implementing enterprise search solutions, users presented with either a taxonomic organisation of content vs. doing a keyword or free-text search for what they are seeking, the vast majority of users will choose a free-text search. The reason being that users don’t want to spend valuable time trying to understand the taxonomy, and particularly where the new breed of search engine is able to return relevant results AND cater for the serendipitous nature of some search queries. Interestingly, Verity (now part of Autonomy) had developed a collaborative taxonomy facility for their K2 search engine, where common terms could be identified for taxonomy labels. Sounds to me that they had recognised the limitations of the inflexible top-down taxonomy approach and were heading towards the realms of folksonomies without realising it. David concludes by stating:

Folksonomies are not only frequently more useful than top-downtaxonomies; they better reflect the bottom-up, messy, ambiguous,inconsistent, social nature of meaning—despite Aristotle and thetradition his genius spawned.

Wish I’d said that!

About Post Author

Stephen Dale

I’m a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity about life. I love travel, good food, and good company. I’m happy to share what I know with others….even the interesting stuff! My outlook on life is pretty well captured in this quote from a book about the legend of King Arthur: “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King So much to learn, so little time!
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