Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Flickr tags

Why is tagging important?
As a cataloger I have been responsible for "tagging" everything I have cataloged over the past 23 years. I have done this via the access points that are placed in the MARC records. These access points have included: names of: authors, illustrators, actors, co-authors; titles, series titles, subjects: topical, geographical, personal name subjects, chronology; genre terms as well as numeric access (ISBNs, ISSNs, music numbers, publisher numbers). They are all "terms", "access points" or "tags" that make an item findable.

It is easy to describe something you have in front of you - you are looking right at it and can readily identify any feature it has.

But months from now, when it is no longer in front of you and you want to go back and look at it again - how do you relocate it? What was the title? What was it about? Who was the author? What was the ISBN? Who were the actors in the film? Where was the picture taken & when? Was the photo b&w or color? Who was the narrator of the audio book?

If you provided meaningful "tags" or "access points" to the item when you had it in front of you -- you can easily find it again. If you did not -- good luck.

One of the basic functions of cataloging is to provide access points that will make the item retreivable at a future date. Whether it is customers looking for a book in a series or an audio book read by a favorite narrator, or Internet searchers who want to find a blog article or a photo on Flickr they all need a reference point -- a way of easily locating a specific item in a SEA of items. Tags do the trick.

Tags make stuff, lots of stuff, lots of unorganized stuff, lots of stuff in various places and on various sites -- findable. Tags also allow people to share their information with others by making it accessible. People can post something on the Internet but no one else knows it is there -- tags SHOUT -- Hey, look here!

Tags are MARC access points on steroids! MARC access points: authors, titles, subjects, genres, keywords, etc. are used in specific bibliographic records which are downloaded to specific library catalogs. They make the information searchable, and findable to anyone who can access the Library catalog and obtain the item. Tags do all that and more! They are sharable and searchable. They find the actual articles, photos, blog posts, maps, etc. in the sea of information on the Internet.

Community develops on Flickr via shared interests. Groups, private and public definitely promote a sense of community as they share photos with one another. But, beyond that, daring to put up photos, etc. for ALL to view, add comments, enjoy, and use is opening a world of experiences, ideas, and values to everyone.

1 comment:

My Journey from Libary 1.0 thinking to Library 2.0 action!

This will be a new beginning as I explore with you the concepts of Library 2.0 and how it can and should impact the way resources are cataloged!

Cataloging is...
Access to information
The structure that makes things findable
The keyring that holds all the keys together
The right tool for finding information