Intro to Education.au and edna (Education Network, Australia) Pru T1 (taxonomies, thesauri, controlled vocabs etc) Pru Examples Scot thesaurus APAIS (? Sarah to check), use of thesauri in edna inc advanced search – where are you? Pru Resource discovery is the point Pru T2 Social tagging: terminology and usage Working with tags: examples, Flickr, Amazon, Steve inc, blogs, me.edu Contrasting folksonomies and formal taxonomies Managing folksonomies: a hybrid approach? Scootle – Sarah and Pru Throw it open – what do they think? Is it new? Any ideas, any experience? Tagging activity – ESP gam e
Introductions (us and them and what they want and where they are from) Pru Pru
Just to give some context, I will talk briefly about where we work, and give some examples of our work with tagging, although some of what I am saying is drawn from research and not necessarily our own work practices. It would be fair to say our focus is on information management for our clients, our external users, rather than our internal information management, although we are implementing Sharepoint and that has social networking capability that we plan to use. We have tags on our internal company blogs and ourselves take part in the social networking we provide on our external sites – we are part of that user group. We also make extensive use of tags on external sites, for sharing information and knowledge internally in projects, as Sarah will show later. Our users are still however a defined (though very large) group and therefore the issues of transparency in knowledge and information management have some similarities with those in internal information management. The agency we work for is called Education.au It is owned by the Australian government and State and Territory Ministers for education and training and supports educators in all sectors with technology and information services.
One of Education.au’s key services is Education Network Australia (edna) – which provides a range of national online services. To give you an idea of some of what we do – it would take too long to say it all: We provide links to online resources, news and events across all sectors. We host and facilitate groups, lists and forums. Our information is all available to search and browse on our website but can also be accessed as rss feeds, or search boxes that can be added to other sites. We provide a federated search across edna in combination with other related databases. We work in a context of collaboration, sharing and networks. Our information is free, and evaluated. We are well positioned to take advantage of web 2.0 developments including tagging and are keen to explore the opportunity of user engagement that has come with web 2.o technical and cultural developments. The web 2.0 world gives us an opportunity to learn more about what our users value, how they analyse information and the terminology they use. Later Sarah will show some ways in which we are using tagging for our external users, as part of one of edna’s key services, a new social networking service for educators. This service, me.edu.au is the next stage of development for edna, a fully customisable personal learning journey, that aims to involve users in the collection, evaluation and organisation of resources, so that they can customise their usage of edna , share their experiences and tell us through their behaviour and decisions what it is they value and how they want to use it. This matches very closely many of the developments in the Web 2.0 world with the advent of user generated content, online social networks, user tagging and folksonomies.
T1 (taxonomies, thesauri, controlled vocabs etc) Pru Examples Scot thesaurus APAIS (? Sarah to check), use of thesauri in edna inc advanced search – where are you? A taxonomy is a collection of Controlled Vocabulary terms organized into a hierarchical structure. Each term in a taxonomy is in one or more parent/child (broader/narrower) relationships to other terms in the taxonomy. A thesaurus is a Controlled Vocabulary arranged in a known order and structured so that the various relationships-equivalence, homographic, hierarchical, and associative-among terms are displayed clearly and identified by standardized relationship indicators. Pru SCIS ATED ScOT
How do we justify the additional human resources involved in assigning category metadata, or any controlled subject terms at all? a thesaurus-based approach to browse. Integrating a controlled vocabulary would provide closer alignment between search and browse Controlled categorisation facilitates one of the major growth areas of EdNA Online use, namely RSS feeds to external websites or RSS readers. One of the most popular RSS feeds is the ‘Recent Resources’, which with the addition of a sector category code, can generate highly relevant feeds for users, e.g. Science Lynx or Global education. the most difficult aspect has been a lack of understanding of user behaviour particularly in regard to searching and browsing the website. Usability testing has become an imperative and the rate of new development has meant that reference groups, Friends of EdNA and consultations have become an ongoing necessity in an attempt to collect this information. Studies comparing recall, precision and satisfaction in searching are not conclusive, and some indicate that user satisfaction may in fact not be directly related to precision of results (Lowe, 2000). Fundamental questions need to be answered, including: do users prefer to search or browse? Where should our indexing energies be directed? How can we match the often imprecise, inconsistent information seeking methods of human beings with structured, controlled category structures? Arguments in favour of browsing are that, if logically and hierarchically structured, it provides some visual context and structure for the user, including clear concepts of broader and narrower terms. The associated breadcrumbs available on most websites now also provide further visual cues as well as navigable history and the opportunity to replay an action. On the other hand, it has been noted that “Unless a site’s visitors think of the content the same way as the internal stakeholders (and every other visitor) and they’ve got the same goals and needs, relying on a traditional site map might be expecting way too much.” (Robinson 2005) Lowe, D 2000, “ Improving Web Search Relevance: Using Navigational Structures to Provide a Search Context” AusWeb2K, 6th Australian World Wide Web Conference 12-17 June 2000. Available: http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw2k/papers/lowe/paper.html Robinson, K., (2005). “Thinking Differently About Site Mapping and Navigation” Asterisk , 17 January. Available at: http://www.7nights.com/asterisk/archive/2005/01/thinking-differently-about-site-mapping-and-navigation
The Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) provides a controlled vocabulary of terms used in Australian and New Zealand schools. It encompasses all subject areas as well as terms describing educational and administrative processes. The thesaurus links non-preferred terms to curriculum terms. It also relates terms in a browsable structure. These features make ScOT an ideal vocabulary to integrate into 'search' mechanisms of learning management systems.
Visual by traditional structure
In an attempt to have a bet both ways, or a best of both search and browse we implement a thesaurus assisted search refinement display on all searches which match thesaurus – suggests broader, narrower and like terms from thesaurus structure. Showing from the Adult and Community Educator sector area – using just a single thesaurus (VOCED) If did same search at the top level of edna (cross sectoral) you would see also transition from preschool to school, career education in schools etc education programs schools periodic table education work relationship entry level training
It’s important to be clear about exactly what we are talking about with tagging. The language is changing rapidly and is varied as with any new phenomenon. Many different terms are currently used (and there is debate about them). I have tried to be consistent and use tagging to refer to labelling of web items, user tagging when that tagging is done by the user, and folksonomy to refer to the collection of user tags This mockup of a tag cloud (not a real one) shows some of the words you’ll come across – at one time folksonomy (coined by Thomas Vander Wal in 2004) was voted the most hated word on the internet – in my view collabulary leaves it for dead!
In an attempt to provide a taxonomy of tagging, I use the word as follows (important to stress this not definitive or prescriptive – just to show how I am using it and trying to be consistent here myself, as a taxonomist!): Tagging: the activity of applying a label to a piece of information – includes therefore tagging by professionals such as indexing in databases and metatags on web documents User tagging : when the tagging activity is done by users (this is the exciting web 20 development) Social tagging: tagging done by users collaboratively, where tags are designed to be shared. Folksonomy is a set of user tags Folksonomies are a kind of taxonomy but I contrast them with formal top-town taxonomies Other associated words used are social bookmarking for the act of bookmarking and sharing – tags are applied to these usually (but may not be) tags are also applied to many other entities: photos, videos, blogs and blog posts, books, people, encyclopedia entries, movies, etc – and even other tags. Tagging is central to Web 2.0. This activity is effectively subject indexing but generally without a controlled vocabulary. Tagging is not new: what is new is that tagging is now being done by anyone
How is tagging used: what are the types of tagging? We often talk as if tagging is always done to indicate the subject matter or topic of an item – and it often is. But it is also frequently used to indicate a kind of administrative function: such as these commonly used tags: Toread, fun, important Some I use: read2008 (in Librarything); for:pmitchell (in delicious for items I want to share with my colleague) One of my favourites: in Flickr: viewfromywindow – is useful only to the person using it. However, in an information management system you can combine tags like that with the identity of the tagger and thereby get value. Or as one researcher has described it, tags are used for time, task and emotion. Tagging is used for personal information management as well as for sharing. Why is tagging used? Purposes of tagging: is it collaborative? is it intended for categorisation? what use is made of the tags? Different sites use tagging in different ways (users do tagging, experts do tagging, applications do tagging) A collected set of tags has been called a folksonomy. Thomas Vander Wal coined the term in 2004. A folksonomy is a collection of tags built up by the action of user tagging: effectively a user generated taxonomy as opposed to an authoritative hierarchical taxonomy In a folksonomy tags may be reused many times, providing information about the popularity of the tags themselves and information about emerging areas of interest. Three distinct entities in the world of tagging: the tag the item being tagged the person doing the tagging They all have a separate existence but vital relationships to each other that can be exploited for information. This is a complex and rich area of activity – much research being done into it.
These are some examples of tagging sites, some well-known, some not. I’ve chosen them to illustrate different things. And we will have a quick look at each of them. Flickr – photos Amazon – books, cds, dvds etc and other items for sale Delicious – bookmarks Librarything – books in personal collections Steve - a research project getting users to tag art online Many blogs use tags (though often only the blog creator does the tagging so not true user tagging perhaps) – we’ll look at 2 examples from our company education.au Me.edu.au uses tags in several ways, we’ll look at those We’ll go live to the sites if we can, otherwise I have recent screenshots
Go to flickr.com, random recent tags fed through
Following fresco tag, randomly presented on first slide Good example of how it is related to painting, fresh as in cold water Possibly al fresco in the case of the food pictures – so same word means different things to different people and in different contexts
Pleased to see womadelaide coming up in the last week’s top tags
Realtime view of tags being added to flickr – can also see the pictures being added at http://www.pimpampum.net/rt/tv/ , oddly addictive
http://www.amazon.com/All-New-Square-Foot-Gardening/dp/1591862027/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237183574&sr=1-1 Amazon not usually talked about much for tagging but they are using them quite effectively Go to the page for a book, see info about tags at the bottom
This illustrates some features of tagging. Misspellings, very personal terms, some analysis of the content
You can follow a tag in delicious and get a feed of items tagged with e.g. folksonomy (note has to be all one word) as they are added http://delicious.com/sarahhayman/folksonomy Show my delicious tag folksonomy: a way to get references from this talk
Wonderful site for those who love reading – very collaborative and very open. Makes great use of tags.
Shows the level of activity on librarything – very popular site
Our triad The tag The items tagged with it The people doing the tagging
Tag combining guidelines for Librarything – “if in doubt don’t” seems to be the rule
Research project Steve is a collaboration of museum professionals and others who believe that social tagging may provide profound new ways to describe and access museum collections and encourage visitor engagement with museum objects. Their research is showing that 85%+ Tags are Not Found in Museum Documentation 60%+ don’t Match Vocabularies They are analysing the nature of the tags and their usefulness for searching. They say that Public Vocabulary is Different. Tagging does Contribute.
Some things to note here: multiword tags; tags act like filters, you can drill down e.g. click on digital storytelling, then click on Second life. Gives you a way to combine tags in a search. Note the tags are uncontrolled, and case sensitive so Blogging and blogging are treated as 2 different tags. Some management of these tags is needed and many sites do offer this. Librarything for example allows anyone at all to register and to go in and cluster tags, disambiguate as it’s called. Will show that later. With tags, people can choose their own term or choose a term that is already there. Grouping of like things can happen and individual terms and concepts can also be used. Tags on this blog can only be assigned by the blogger and only a limited number of education.au staff blog, so it is not a fully open system like delicious or librarything. This is the front page of the blog section of the education.au site. It shows recent blog posts, with their tags, and the tag cloud at the side. The education.au company website uses tagging on its blog area only. When tags are being added to blog posts, they are called categories. The user can’t see the other tags or the tag cloud at the point of adding new tags. Tags are used for navigation and filtering in the blog section of site Tags are searchable in the blog section of site You can see some features of the tag cloud here. There are 3 sizes of tags, indicating usage throughout all the blogs.. Multiple word tags are allowed The user can drill down using the filter by tags feature – a powerful one. Tags are not searchable in the simple full site search (though available in advanced). Tags are case sensitive (note both blogging and Blogging appear as separate tags) In the tag cloud display, a multiple word can be identified because the underline carries across both words e.g. digital education revolution However, the multiple words can be broken when the lines wrap to fit the column and it is not clear (other than by checking the alphabetical order) where a multiple word tag begins and ends.
Me.edu.au is the new social networking facility on edna. This service, me.edu.au is the next stage of development for edna, a fully customisable personal learning journey, that aims to involve users in the collection, evaluation and organisation of resources, so that they can customise their usage of edna, share their experiences and tell us through their behaviour and decisions what it is they value and how they want to use it. Users contribute, customise, manage and share their own resources. It makes the best use of collaborative technologies and philosophies. It is a public space: each person’s personal learning journey will add to the community’s knowledge and learning. It is a portal containing a range of features.
On me.edu.au tags are created by users who must register. The site is designed for Australian educators but there is a category for users who are not involved in education: anyone with an interest in education can join at this point. Two types of tags are used on the site: (1) names of communities (interests) – the two are the same. (2) Tags used on blog posts.
The names of interests are effectively tags. They also create the name of a community. If a user says he/she is interested in e.g. Languages, that automatically creates a community named Languages. Another person can then choose that as an interest and will then become a member of that community. This can happen by choosing to join on the community page or by entering the text Languages as an interest in one’s profile. The top 100 communities are displayed as a tag cloud. Community names/interests are searchable.
The slide shows the edit my profile page. This is where I can add a new interest/community. As the user types the name of the community into the box, suggestions come up showing the existing set of community names (tags). It is based on the initial string therefore is somewhat limited (in this example it would not pick up a related name starting with electronic or computing). The user can either choose an existing one and thereby become a member of that existing community or can type in a new term and create a new community (that person will be the first member).
This slide shows Pru’s blog page on me.edu.au. On the left you can see Pru’s interests/communities. On the right is a different set of tags and these are used differently on the site. The tags on the blog posts can be searched from within the blog post (by clicking on the tag cloud at the side of the blog) and can also be searched by the site search. They are not linked to the communities of the same name other than by the overall site search. The tags here are used to navigate within the individual entire blog and the size indicates activity within this blog rather than the whole site.
Tags are used within me.edu.au communities to dynamically pull in relevant blog posts from the me.edu.au community, as well as results from the edna repository of resources, events, news, groups and lists. The reverse also occurs – people using the edna search (either on the edna website or embedded on an external site) will retrieve communities and users tagged with their search term
Tagging is multidimensional: users can assign a large number of tags to express a concept and can combine them Users can use their own language: words that have meaning for them. These words are likely to be current and reflect local usage. Users select concepts that have meaning for them as individuals and analyse items to highlight what is important to them. Tags can be shared, creating knowledge through aggregation Tagging is very quick, simple and straightforward. Users can apply tags without formal training in classification or indexing. Instead of having to store an item in a single folder, it can be tagged with many different terms and each of these could be used to generate an instant collection Social tagging fosters the development of communities around similar interests and viewpoints. The larger scale can bring some organisation; judicious users will evaluate tags and tend to use existing tags to assist with forming useful connections Tagging is a valuable source of information about users: their interests, their analysis and their terminology
Tags can be poorly chosen and applied. Tags can be applied at different levels of specificity by different users (or even by the same user at different times) Different terms may be used for the same concept (e.g. cats , felines ) Conversely, the same term can be used for different concepts (e.g. play ) Tags with personal meaning only are frequently used (e.g. viewfrommywindow ) Information about tags (e.g. definitions, usage guidelines) is often not provided (though there are exceptions to this) Terms in different languages will be used leading to ambiguities (eg son ) Uncontrolled tagging can result in a mixture of types of things, names of things, genres and formats. Regular indexing and cataloguing rules such as singular vs plural forms, use of hyphens and spelling conventions are not established in a folksonomy
Some possibilities: New ways to harvest tagging (Flickr analyses tags to cluster photographs by subject; Yahoo Pipes allow feeds from tags to be conjoined and added to blogs, feedreaders, igoogle, etc; delicious tags can be commented on and bundled; Librarything encourages disambiguation by users, etc) Intersection of tags with social networks, giving weight to tags assigned by known users Hybrid systems: e.g. where items are organized into broad categories, with finer classification distinctions being made by the use of tags or where tags are chosen by users from established sets of terms
The J Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University uses tags from Librarything. User created tags add richness to the data, e.g. Nebula award is not part of the usual searchable cataloguing data for fiction books – here it links works that have won the award. Note that they are also collecting recommendations from Librarything, which may or may not be based on tags.
Clicking on Librarything tags brings up the tag browser which allows you to use the librarything data to navigate to other items in this library’s catalog – very powerful.
Scootle is a website built by education.au for the Australian schools sector, owned and managed by the Learning Federation at the Curriculum Corporation. Only registered eligible users can see the full content and add tags. All schools (government and non-government) have access as well as university education departments. It allows user tagging and all resources are also indexed by information managers.
This front page of Scootle shows the tag cloud of search terms mentioned on the previous slide. It is interesting to speculate about the difference between tags assigned by a user (for whatever purpose) and terms that have been entered as search terms. In one case a person is thinking “what will I label this so I can find it again?” in the other “what term will someone else have used to label this?” A comparative analysis of search terms vs tags would be very interesting. At present on Scootle there are few user tags as it is early days for this facility. However there would be many more search terms used as users search it frequently.
Clicking on a term takes you to resources indexed with that term (it may be in title, abstract, topics, etc). Registered users can tag a resource. In this slide we clicked on the term Arts in the cloud of popular search terms and then selected the first resource in that set of results. This slide shows the detail of that resource, a Bruce Petty cartoon. Scootle has a large number of cultural resources in it. You can see the link at the top Tag this object – we’ll come back to that. Note the tag Cartoon footage: The resource was extensively indexed by the TLF, but this term that the user wanted was not supplied so the user has added it.
This slide shows the page where the user can add a tag. An important feature of this site is the suggesting of terms as the user’s own terms are typed in. This is the feature called the taxonomy directed folksonomy when it was first considered at education.au last year in connection with a different project. Note too that again the suggestions are based on the initial string of the term, so not all related tags are shown. If a full thesaurus lookup is desired at this point a different interface will be required. It is an attempt to overcome problems with the free use of uncontrolled terms in user tagging – a way to draw like items together and provide the benefits of a taxonomy, while incorporating the user contribution: the user makes the choice of term and may use a new term if preferred. In future it would seem sensible to look at user terms and consider whether they should be included in the thesaurus – leading to a folksonomy-informed taxonomy. The system suggests terms from the ScOT Thesaurus as the user types in text. The user can select a thesaurus term or type in his/her own term. The terms entered as user tags are then searchable. The advanced search allows the user to search by user contributed tags field only if they wish. It will be interesting to see what tags develop on this site over time. Users often use tags to identify an item for their own purposes and in quite idiosyncratic ways – this feature will allow them to do that. The model aims to combine user tagging with a controlled vocabulary and harness the best of both worlds. A possible future development would be to give users information about the tags as they are about to choose one – so they not only see related tags but also scope notes or guidelines for usage. This would give further taxonomic direction to the folksonomy.
Before we finish I want to leave with you a message abut the power of user tagging – the reason we really can’t ignore this opportunity to harness the knowledge expertise and concerns of our users. These 2 slides I think make the point very strongly about the importance and value that user tagging can bring. Susan Chun of the Steve Museum tagging project showed this lovely example at a National Library of Australia seminar in 2007. It is a photograph from a museum collection of a car on the beach – no one knew what model of car it was so the catalogue data showed the photographer and the title “automobile”. They put it up for users to send in information and found that it was …
… a toy car! Seems obvious once you know – it explains the big bolts. Metadata could be added that had come from users, providing better information for everyone. As information managers, we cannot ignore this opportunity to gather rich, important and sometimes unique data from our users: the challenge is how best to do it.
We would welcome any comments, ideas or questions, email addresses shown. We will send the version of our presentation that contains notes to anyone on request and to Rosalie to circulate if you wish.
What we will cover
Introductions, including overview of education.au and edna
edna category APAIS ATED SCIS SCOT VOCED Lifelong learning Careers Transition programs Transition Education Careers Recurrent Education Careers Lifelong learning Transition programs Career development Occupations (Work) Career information Lifelong learning Transition from school to work
Some examples from community information http://www.easthampshire.org/ Has tag cloud http://homelessnessinfo.net.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=form&Itemid=319 Users can submit content with their own keywords http://blogs.abc.net.au/heywire/ Uses technorati tags http://www.talkbx.com/ User tags, has tag cloud http://www.missionaustralia.com.au/ Has tag cloud but do not appear to be user tags
Any questions, comments, suggestions welcome Pru Mitchell Senior Education Officer, Education and Training Services education.au [email_address] Sarah Hayman Assistant Manager, Information Management and Collections education.au [email_address]