Thursday, April 21, 2005

Folksonomies and Paving the Cow Paths 

Peter Merholz
The potential benefits of free tagging should encourage practitioners to address such shortcomings. In looking for a real-world analog, I thought of the foot-worn paths that appear in a landscape over time. Called “desire lines,” these trails demonstrate how a landscape’s users choose to move, which is often not on the paved paths. A smart landscape designer will let wanderers create paths through use, and then pave the emerging walkways, ensuring optimal utility.

Ethnoclassification systems can similarly “emerge.” Once you have a preliminary system in place, you can use the most common tags to develop a controlled vocabulary that truly speaks the users’ language.

Topics: Folksonomy | Tagging | Search | Learning

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