Reportback from Tagging Workshop at the World Wide Web conference

Tagging workshop was great. Some observations in no particular order.

1) A number of papers about tagging in the enterprise. The common theme seemed to be about creating a loose social network, understand and tap into expertise. (Papers: Fringe Contacts from IBM Research, Collaborative Tagging & Expertise from Avaya, Onomi from Mitre.

2) Two different approaches about for getting structure from tags. One approach was to harvest either faceted metadata and ontology from tags. Yahoo Research and RawSugar which did not present their work on faceted data at this workshop. A different type of approach was taken by RawSugar and Philip Keller inclustering tags from RawSugar, Philip Keller etc.

3) Lots of focus on tagging at Yahoo Research. Seems like everyone I know at Yahoo Research is working on tagging. Mor Naaman, Marc Davis, Andrew Schank, Patrick , Danah Boyd. They recently came out with Zone Tag which is pretty cool. But I look forward to what they will be coming up with next. I also have some observations about what I am calling: The Yahoo school of thought on tagging. More on that later.

4) Another theme – museums seem to be embracing tagging (does a sample of 1 make a trend?). There is a huge difference between the way that experts and the public view museum artifacts. Tagging is an opportunity to get the public’s concepts and vocabulary about their artifacts. Also, this fits in with a general effort by museums to be more open. (Papers: steve.museum project)

5) A very cool visualization demo of Flickr’s interesting pictures. Done by Brian Dennis. Based on Ben Bederson’s work on DataLens.

6) Another common theme: to help the Lazy Tagger with suggestions. While several approaches were promising (especially this paper from Yahoo), I am personally somewhat skeptical of this approach. (I think when tags are suggested by someone else rather than generated by individual, then it somewhat defeats the purpose of tagging which is to get the individual’s perspective.)

7) In my keynote, I talked about tagging from a personal and social level. I discussed why tagging feels easier and cautioned about adding complexity to the process (I have noticed a tendency for tag designers to become a little greedy and ask “just a little more” of the user.) Next I traced how to build social systems (based on tagging) that tap into the wisdom of crowds.

Also, I presented 9 principles for the design of tagging systems. I am waiting for feedback from a few people about my talk before posting the ppt.

2 responses to “Reportback from Tagging Workshop at the World Wide Web conference

  1. Hi Rashmi,
    thanks very much for this report,
    it is very useful for people like me… i really wished i were there but i could’nt :(
    I am looking forward to reading your keynote i already know it will be very interesting
    bye!

  2. Rashmi,

    I’ll second that – this summary is a wonderful resource for those of us that could not attend.

    One note: the Fringe Contacts and Collaborative Tagging links seem to point to the same place…