I enjoyed the YouTube videos! The first:Tagging & Folksonomy -- little catalogers in the making, organizing and establishing relationships in their world! The second: Bookmarking in Plain English -- short, sweet & to the point, very helpful!
The longer OPAL presentation, "Make Your Library del.icio.us Social Bookmarking in the Stacks" by Jason Griffey offered food for thought. As a cataloger I see the need to establish relationships and collocation so that all related items are found. The idea of a hierarchy and faceted classification brings structure that is important. The Town Center building is made possible through intricate structural elements that allow the building to exist. In much the same way as a building needs the inner structure to exist I see cataloging as the intricate structural element that allows information to be found.
From Cindy's podcast: "as more and more people add content to the web they want to organize it ... and share it". A piece of information by itself, floating in a sea of information is useless unless it can be ranked, made relevant and revealed to the person seeking it. That is what cataloging does!
So what about Tagging and Folksonomies?? Are they useless? NO!! Bring them on! They are yet other tools in the toolbox useful in finding the information people are searching for.
Fiction subject access is a perfect example of how readers could benefit from using both structured access such as:
- Library of Congress (LC)Subject headings
- Guidelines on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction, Drama, Etc. (GSAFD)genre terms
- Reader's Advisory appeal characteristics
and the unstructured access of: tags and folksonomies created by other readers.
Structured access can create the "what-who-where-when" very easily by creating access to:
- Genre type: Mystery - Romance - Christian Fiction - Science Fiction - Horror etc.
- Who: Professions - Continuing characters - Gender - Age
- Where: Geographic locations - Cities, rural areas, etc.
- When: Historical fiction - 21st century - 1960's, etc.
- Other books by the author
- Other books in the series
- Other books with similar genre types ; themes ; characters
- I would also like to see terms created in the catalog that associate appeal characteristics to the books in our collection. This could be a collaborative effort between Reader's Advisory Staff and Catalogers to add access to a discreet number of appeal characteristics: gentle read, mild language, Southern Fiction, etc.
The unstructured access offered by the tagging of actual readers would add an immense value: by offering the reading experience itself - what was the book like? Of course the following would depend on whether or not individual URLs are available for titles so that a reader could add tagging
- too preachy
- too wordy
- too much cussing
- it made me cry
- characters seemed plastic, not real
- great adventure story
- Reminds me of....
World Cat is following through with a project to make this feasible!! Stay tuned!
World Cat Link:
The value of individual tagging is in the emergant order" it creates. As large numbers of people add the same or similar tagging it will automatically create lists of "What do I read next" as others find value in the reading experience of those who took the time to create the tags.
I believe tagging and folksonomies can be very useful reader tools that unlock the reading experience for other readers. We can't read every title purchased by the library, but we can give it multiple access points to help customers choose what they want to read. The meat of the story and the heart of it can be revealed by those who actually have read and tagged the title and either came away with a MUST READ or STAY AWAY FROM IT reading experience.
Question #2: Is it an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere -- absolutely!! This is also a valuable way for staff to have at their fingertips the very sites that will allow them to connect readers to books they will enjoy and information they need to find.
I plan on creating a Del.icio.us account and experiment with tagging and bookmarks -- hopefully I can use it to create an informal "read-alike" list. If not, we have plenty of other tools we have learned about including Blogs, Wikis, and MySpace to make it happen!