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May 25, 2006


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Looks like a really interesting session! At Baker Library we're looking into allowing users to submit websites to our search engine and tag them with keywords.

Note: This week there was a social tagging workshop held in Edinburgh. A number of interesting papers from the workshop are available at:


Correction on Adam Seldow's title -- he's the founder of Gradeweb, Inc. (http://www.gradeweb.com)

My notes from today's chat:

Social tagging
* user-defined meaning for content
* helps organize, store info
* social aspect -- connect with other researchers

Relies on and helps create a "folksonomy" -- from Wikipedia: A "folksonomy" is a collaboratively generated, open-ended labeling system that enables Internet users to categorize content such as Web pages, online photographs, and Web links. The freely chosen labels – called tags – help to improve search engine's effectiveness because content is categorized using a familiar, accessible, and shared vocabulary. The labeling process is called tagging. Two widely cited examples of websites using folksonomic tagging are Flickr and del.icio.us.

Info is accessed in several ways -- by related tags, users, related users, etc. Social tagging increases the amount of info available to you.

toptaggers.com - allows you to weight tags by certain users heavier than others

Social tagging allows you to:
* discover new materials by leveraging the search success of others
* associate your topic to other topics through related tags
* harness & categorize "gray literature"
* rate, comment, and add your 2 cents
* create niche groups within sites

* 'incorrect' tags
* spagging (spam tagging)
* opportunity cost of neglecting off-line resources
* licenses and restricted access to materials
* unsafe/inappropriate links
* obscure docs -- harder to locate?

Bottom line -- works well as a *supplemental* research tool.

* Del.icio.us -- bookmark sharing via tags (bought by Yahoo)
* Flickr -- tagging photos (bought by Yahoo)
* Penn Tags
* Unalog (Yale uses this)
* Connotea
* TeacherShare.org (based on open-source Scuttle platform)

Social tagging sites:

Common features:
* bookmarklets add URLs quickly/easily
* you and others can tag the same bookmark (build meaning)
* export/import bookmarks to and from browsers
* user profiles -- pub/private reading lists
* popular/recent tag clouds
* RSS feeds in several standard formats

Advanced features
* export bookmarks to bibliographic software (EndNote, etc)
* OpenURL, XBEL (SML Bookmark Exchange Language), XOBIS (Organic Bibliographic Info Schema), and MODS (metadata object description schema) support
* Form pub/private groups
* commenting, post to blog, email to friends, ratings on-the-fly (AJAX)
* User rankings for 'trusted' users
* personal tag cloud generators
* custom RSS feeds by tag, user, or group

"Library 2.0" -- making your library's space (virtual and physical) more interactive, collaborative, and driven by community needs. Get people into / back into library by making it more relevant.
* build a collaborative community on/offline
* not that different from what happens now *inside* physical libraries
* social tagging networks personalize the search process with colloquial language
* social tagging only a small piece of library 2.0 virtual communities

Social tagging in libraries
* search using own language
* related article and user recommendations
* organize and discover 'gray literature'
* connect with people sharing interests
* loss of a controlled vocabulary, taxonomies, ontologies
* content often not peer-reviewed
* site licenses may restrict usage
* complacency with other peoples' reading lists

Adam's favorite social bookmarking sites:
* Connotea
* TeacherShare.org (Adam's pilot using Scuttle open source software)
* Del.icio.us

Adam does not normally begin his research with social bookmarking sites, but it is a great supplemental set of sources. He sometimes enters his search phrases in a social tagging site to see what related tags/users appear.

Adam then played a 10-minute Flash presentation/overview of how he uses the tools in research.

How can social tagging tools help educators connect with researchers?
* share "usable knowledge"
* prof development
* student/prof reading lists
* interest groups

Teacher 2 Teacher
Teacher 2 Student
Student 2 Student

* Tagging integrated as a pat of a suite of tools or as part of school's existing portal


Harvard Grad School of Ed's Gutman Library -- just starting to investigate this with Adam and determine context for usage. Starting to think about where it could be piloted -- an Ed school or FAS (undergrad) course. Penn system was sponsored by a fac member wanting students to share annotated bibliographies in a film class.

HBS Baker Library starting to investigate similar things like Search Space (used at MITRE) -- can add a URL to search results, etc. See social tagging as a useful adjunct. Most library folks in the room agreed -- it seemed to be a very useful adjunct and most librarians counsel their researchers already to use a mix of controlled vocab and jargon, etc, in their searches.

Adam sees this as a low-cost way to generate interest in libraries and make them more usable (tag clouds, etc).

How do you get folks to do *work* when researching -- adding metadata? Group discussed how primarily users do this for themselves, and sharing is a secondary perk.

Group discussed Harvard environment and how

Larry brough up usability -- Delicious is overwhelming and unusable. But sites are getting better. Alexis -- amazon feature showing screenshot of website next to link. Blinklist.com -- social bookmarking site that puts picture and user ratings, shows tags, etc.

onlywire -- bookmarklet to add to a bunch of sites.


I just signed up for a Connotea account, and I have "implemented" FindIt@Harvard.

Basically, I filled in the appropriate openURL resolver URL, and it worked perfectly!

For people at Harvard who want to try it, here's the URL for Harvard's openURL resolver:


Naturally, I labeled it FindIt@Harvard.


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