Even if you’re not sure what tagging is, you may have already seen it in action. Tagging is an open and informal way of categorizing that allows you to associate keywords with online content (webpages, pictures & posts). Unlike library subject cataloging, which follows a strict set of guidelines (i.e., Library of Congress subject headings), tagging is completely unstructured and freeform, allowing users to create connections between data anyway they want. The art of tagging by folks who are not librarians or catalogers, is called “folksonomy.”
Tagging helps bring order to online content. You can think of a tag as a topic. Adding a tag (or #hashtag) to your tweet, blog post, photo, video, etc makes it easier for people find and follow the content related to a certain topic.
The idea of tagging has become very popular on Twitter. The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. You can click on the hashtag in a tweet to easily find other tweets with that same hashtag. Go ahead and click any of the 3 hashtags included in the Tweet below. (This is another way you can benefit from Twitter without ever Tweeting yourself.)
There are a number of benefits that can come from tagging content including:
Flexible way for anyone to organize content using personally meaningful terms
Helps establish relationships between content and the people connected to the content (both content creators and readers)
Enables discovery of a range of other items tagged by other content creators and readers
Discovery Exercise & Discussion:
- Use the tags on each site to navigate and explore Flickr and Diigo. You could start with tweets about , all the photos that have been tagged with “Columbus” or all the bookmarks that have been tagged with “LearnCamp” and branch out from there.
- One common use of tagging is with social bookmarking. Read “7 Things You Should Know about Social Bookmarking” to get a good overview for our next activity.