The most popular and comprehensive Open Source ECM platform
By Dick Weisinger
In the world of Web2.0 the concept of social bookmarking via Tagging has become a very popular way of classifying information. This method of classification is being called folksonomy. Two web sites that have popularized tagging are Flickr and deli.icio.us. This approach is often described as being ‘democratic’ in that it allows full participation by an entire community in classifying and choosing content that has high relevancy. It relies on a large number of active participants to classify and create the tags — generally the more participants involved, the greater the accuracy, the more content that gets tagged, and the easier it becomes for users to find information.
The folksonomy approach compared to a more standard hierarchical taxonomy provides much more flexibility. Tagging allows some content items to be easily related to multiple categories or groups, rather than being relegated to a single fixed bin or folder. Frequently used tags are grouped into “tag clouds” that typically display a cluster of tag words of varying font sizes with the most commonly used tags being displayed in the largest font.
Folksonomy is something very new and will no doubt evolve. A weakness of current implementations is that tag clouds today have no other weightings than the number of times a tag is used. Adding a dimension or weighting of time would make tag relevancies more accurate because tag relevancies can be skewed towards tags that have had a lot of activity during a short period of time but which later lose relevancy.
In the enterprise, folksonomy and tagging could help users more easily find information, documents and projects. Folksonomy could enhance a more traditional taxonomy approach, but in most cases, in a business environment, could not alone replace existing classification techniques. Records Management initiatives, for example, are centered on the idea of being able to apply complex disposition and lifecyle information stored within a FilePlan, and the taxonomies associated with FilePlans are very rigidly defined.
Taxonomy supplemented by Folksonomy can become a very powerful tool within the enterprise for assisting with enterprise search and improving user productivity.