Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Tagging

287 words

Tagging has been hyped for a few years now. Particularly in the ‘web 2’. Few of those sites work without the ability to assign ‘tags’ or ‘categories’ to the data they work with. I played around with that as well, adding tags to photos, links and whatnot. But I keep having the impression that I very rarely actually use tags for finding the data I am interested in.

That is for two reasons, I think. The first is that ‘tagging’ is quite unsystematic. I – and all the other people who use tags – just add some tags to whatever data happens to be there. Tags which seem adequate and appropriate and possibly even exhausting at the time. And thus this doesn’t yield predictable results. Different tags may be considered the appropriate ones for a certain bit of data by different people or even by the same person at different times. Which of course makes it rather hard to actually find things based on tags unless there is some algorithm with some smart use of statistics working in the background which tries to make ‘sense’ of the tags rather than just using them literally.

The bottom line for me seems to be that tags can be useful in a few cases but that – particularly in ‘social’ situations – they will not give us a reliable way to actually retrieve information in an efficient or even complete way. In a way I think they are over-hyped and I suspect that a more free-form approach that analyses the full data and possibly takes into account equivalent terms based on the context should be much more powerful (i.e. Google should do this, harhar) than what we are getting today.

October 25, 2007, 0:26

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