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Monday, June 27, 2005

Folksonomies : For The People, By The People

An unprecedented amount of Web content has begun to be generated through web logs, wikis and other social tools thanks to lower technology and cost barriers. A new host of content creators is emerging, often individuals with the will to participate in discussions and share their ideas with like-minded people. This is to say that this increasing amount of varied, valuable content is generated by non-trained, non-expert information professionals: they are at the same time users and producers of information. We have gone past a critical mass of connectivity between people that has introduced a new revolutionary ability to communicate, collaborate and share goods online.
To respond to these increased informational and exchange needs, new communication models are emerging and producing an incredible amount of distributed information that information management professionals, information architects, librarians and knowledge workers at large need to link, aggregate, and organize in order to extract knowledge. The traditional organizational schemes used so far are not suitable to address the classification needs of fast-proliferating, new information sources or if, to achieve this goal, better aggregation and concept matching tools are required.
Folksonomies attempt to provide a solution to this issue, by introducing an innovative distributed approach based on social classification. Librarians and information scientists have created appropriate and powerful classification systems. Classification requires the design and consistent use of a scheme for a systematic organization of knowledge. Folksonomies are a new, rapidly evolving approach to classification of digital objects. Much has still to be discovered and tested. What we have not created yet is probably a middle ground, somewhere between the pure democracy of bottom-up tagging and the empirical determinism of top-down controlled vocabularies. Read the full paper here.

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