#Socialtagging: Defining its role in the academic library


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Paper presented at the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education Student Research Symposium, Buffalo, NY, with Annalise Ammer, April 14, 2011.

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  • The internet. It has become inextricably intertwined into the fabric of our society and it is here to stay whether we like its presence or not. The internet has changed the way our society functions in nearly every way. With that, the needs and expectations of users has also changed. Development of Web 2.0 technologies has improved upon what is available through the internet. Web 2.0 applies to a set of characteristics found in web-based tools and practices that encourage more user interaction and participation. The information seeker and user of today expects to be able to do everything online and expects to be able to contribute. Web 2.0 tools allow users to create personal spaces that are highly intertwined with their personal interests and research. This dramatic change of today’s information seeker and user has created the need for a change in the way information is stored and accessed.
  • Conceptual analysis: the “aboutness” of the document and deciding what is relevant about it Translation: finding and assigning symbols (tags) to the document that represent the “aboutness” so it can be easily accessed in the future The great thing about tagging is that the “aboutness” can be different for everyone so the tags can represent that thus creating a more intitutive and individualized indexing experience, while giving the document multiple unique access points.
  • While some of these sites like twitter and flickr cater mainly to social networking, others cover the academic spectrum as well. Delicious is used by many schools to help supplement the reference sources already available to students. Because we live in a web centered world tagging and bookmarking good reference sites makes perfect sense, since that is where look first. Library thing has also created specific software “Library Thing for Libraries” which not only incorporates tagging but also includes social reference managing and collaborative cataloging.
  • -Unlike print indexes there is a virtually unlimited amount of digital space in which to hold the tags  no limit on tags -Users can use language that makes sense to them which in turn allows them to engage more with the document because they have some small control on its meaning and organization Anyone can add or remove tags -Tags are flexible and can serve many purposes. Tags can be descriptive, used for ownership or source, opinion, self-reference, task organizing, play, or determine resource type Helps to create a community of knowledge sharing user become actively involved with the information and its retrieval and organization tags can be for personal use (low structure) or more disciplined
  • Lack of authority control can cause confusion when trying to standardize a number of tags for a community of people to utilize Some users are able to apply hundreds of tags to certain documents so that they are weighted more therefore they show up first in a query despite their content. Spagging = spam tagging because there is no authority control it is easy to forget or lose track of the tags that you applied to a document making it hard to retrieve. By sharing and organizing their tags with other users, tags don’t get lost because they become more popular making them easier to retrieve in the future. Incorrect or inappropriately tagged documents  misleading and erroneous some people question whether tagging is a fad or here to stay  don’t want to invest time and energy into something that will be obsolete in a few years Digital divide  people who are not technically literate or who do not have adequate access to a computer and the web will not be able to benefit from tagging
  • PROS: CONS: -Terms and concepts are constantly changing and the sheer size of controlled vocabularies such as LCSH make it extremely difficult to react to changes. -No single access term, however well crafted and chosen, can cover all of a user’s query attempts -
  • encourage collaboration, self-expression, and play
  • Can make projects, show related tag subjects. Librarians have developed best practices while using this system. Formatted tags: firstword_secondword
  • Social tagging allows users to perform tasks that were once just the job of experts Provides a new way to access information based on individual knowledge and cultural experience Tagging is current and immediately captures changes
  • #Socialtagging: Defining its role in the academic library

    1. 1. #socialtagging: Defining its role in the academic library Department of Library and Information Studies
    2. 2. Today’s information seeker and user <ul><li>Expects the ability to participate and interact in an online environment </li></ul><ul><li>Is now both a consumer and contributor of information </li></ul><ul><li>Information literacy is closely attached to themselves and their work </li></ul><ul><li>Has an increasingly diverse demographic </li></ul><ul><li>Needs new ways to access information </li></ul>
    3. 3. What is social tagging? <ul><li>User generated annotations and subject search terms </li></ul><ul><li>Also known as: collaborative tagging, social classification, social indexing, folksonomy, social annotation </li></ul>
    4. 4. Tagging Websites <ul><li>Social tagging websites cover a wide range of topics and cater to both social networking and academia : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>www.Delicious.com </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>www.Librarything.com </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>www.Diigo.com </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>www.CiteULike.com </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>www.Connotea.com </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>www.Goodreads.com </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>www.Flickr.com (images) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Benefits of tagging <ul><li>Created using “plain” language </li></ul><ul><li>Removes barrier between user and document </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible and easy to edit </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages a sense of community </li></ul><ul><li>Engages the user in the knowledge retrieval </li></ul><ul><li>Can be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personalized for user’s own reference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structured for broad access </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. The dark side of tagging <ul><li>No authority control </li></ul><ul><li>Spam tagging— “spagging” </li></ul><ul><li>Lose track of assigned tags— “information closets” </li></ul><ul><li>Incorrectly or inappropriately tagged documents </li></ul><ul><li>Staying power of tagging? </li></ul><ul><li>Digital divide </li></ul>
    7. 7. What about subject headings? <ul><li>Pros: </li></ul><ul><li>Cons: </li></ul><ul><li>Highly structured </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eliminates sense ambiguity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Standardized , high quality </li></ul><ul><li>Longevity </li></ul><ul><li>React slowly to new concepts and changes </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult for non-experts to use for formulating queries </li></ul>
    8. 8. Tagging in the academic library <ul><li>Provides a new way to interact with the catalog </li></ul><ul><li>Social tagging complements subject headings. More access points that may be more user friendly </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tags are used to start the search , subject headings are used to retrieve the related records </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suggestions for tags from the vocabulary </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Participation is key </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should be easy for people to contribute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Make tagging fun and useful , not just a chore” (Steele 2009 p.76) </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. PennTags <ul><li>Hosted and developed by University of Pennsylvania </li></ul><ul><li>Penn community members can tag web sites, articles in the library’s database, video and OPAC catalog records </li></ul><ul><li>“ Add to PennTags” link available at the bottom of any resource page in the library </li></ul><ul><li>Caters to traditional users and those seeking a new way of interacting with the catalog </li></ul>
    10. 10. Tagroll Tag cloud
    11. 11. Conclusion <ul><li>The “aboutness” of an object is determined by many people allowing more access points </li></ul><ul><li>Social tagging is not meant to replace subject headings but serves as a complement to enhance access to collections </li></ul><ul><li>Can provide insight for understanding the information needs and interests of library users </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supports participatory librarianship </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. References <ul><li>Goh, Dion, Foo, Schubert. Social information retrieval systems: Emerging technologies and applications for searching the Web effectively /Hershey: Information Science Reference, c2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Jank, David. &quot;Toward a Unifying Ontology for Human-Information Interaction / Vers une unification ontologique dans le domaine de l'interaction humaine avec l'information.&quot; Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 34.4 (2010): 403-432. Project MUSE . Web. 22 Jan. 2011. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>. </li></ul><ul><li>Kakali, C., & Papatheodorou, C. (2010). Exploitation of Folksonomies in Subject Analysis. Library & Information Science Research , 192-202. </li></ul><ul><li>Lu, C., Park, J., & Hu, X. (2010). User tags versus expert-assigned subject terms: a comparison of librarything tags and library of congress subject headings. Journal of Information Science , 36 (6), doi: 10.1177/0165551510386173 </li></ul><ul><li>Matthews, B., Jones, C., Puzon, B., Moon, J., Tudhope, D., Golub, K., et al. (2010). An Evaluation of Enhancing Social Tagging with a Knowledge Organization System. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. </li></ul><ul><li>Penntags . (2005, October 11). Retrieved from http://tags.library.upenn.edu/ </li></ul><ul><li>Steele, T. (2009). The new cooperative catalog. Library Hi Tech, 27(1), doi: 10.1108/07378830910942928 </li></ul><ul><li>Ying, D., Jacob, E. K., Zhixiong, Z., Foo, S., Erjia, Y., George, N. L., & Lijiang, G. (2009). Perspectives on social tagging. Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology , 60(12), 2388. Retrieved from EBSCO host . </li></ul>
    13. 13. Questions #socialtagging: Defining its role in the academic library