(2004-08-26) Udell Keyword Feedback

Jon Udell on Meta Data approaches of apps like FlickR and Del.icio.us. Abandoning Taxonomy is the first ingredient of success. These systems just use bags of KeyWord-s that draw from - and extend - a flat NameSpace. In other words, you tag an item with a list of existing and/or new keywords. Of course, that idea's been around for decades, so what's special about Flickr and del.icio.us? Sometimes a difference in degree becomes a difference in kind. The degree to which these systems bind the assignment of tags to their use - in a tight feedback loop - is that kind of difference. FeedBack is immediate. As soon as you assign a tag to an item, you see the cluster of items carrying the same tag. If that's not what you expected, you're given incentive to change the tag or add another... These systems offer lots of ways to visualize and refine the TagSpace. (WikiWord, Touch Graph) Armed with such powerful tools, people can collectively enrich shared data. But will they? The success of Flickr and del.icio.us won't necessarily translate to the Intranet (Critical Mass). You can import the global-HiveMind, but you can't export the local-HiveMind. That asymmetry defines the challenge we face as enterprise knowledge gardeners.

Related, see Clay Shirky on the "FolksonOmy" labelling of uncontrolled flat NameSpace-s. Problems of synonyms and Context.

Nov9'2004 - more from Jon Udell.

Jan'2005 - more from Clay Shirky in response to Louis Rosenfeld. I ask whether, as an uncontrolled vocabulary grows, you just end up with a Full Text Search Engine.

Jan18 - Ed Taekema thinking about Wiki Category management.

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