Friday, January 14, 2005

Folks are jumping on to the tagging experiment

We have a couple of new posters to the nptech tag in del.icio.us. Good on them. It's starting to turn into a nice compendium of bookmarks.

But we're aiming for something more. We'd also like the words that people use to describe the tags. Not just nptech -- in fact, that tag is pretty much a conceit so that we can find/share easily. It's other words. These words, shared in the form of tags, will result in a potential understanding of the words that could go into a reasonable taxonomy.

For example, I noticed that DEF tagged Creative Commons with "nptech." Only the "nptech" tag was used. What else could be used to describe this for nonprofits? I'd throw in words like "content," "free," "licensing," "share." As other people put their tags in, the words that use to describe the item in question in this particular context, we'll end up with a whole pool of words and then, exempting the "nptech" tag, we can see which are the most common. These start to inform the basis of a nonprofit technology taxonomy.

Creative Commons has been tagged by 308 people. Why not just use the words that they've used? Well, they aren't necessarily tagging from a nonprofit mindset. As such, their tags might not be quite as valuable.

Again, this project has three goals:

  1. Collect relevant nonprofit technology bookmarks in a easily sharable way;
  2. Collect the words used, by various people, to describe those bookmarks so that we can search for commonalties and inform more formal taxonomy efforts; and,
  3. Invite the unexpected.


Interestingly, has incorporated tags. They are combining the tags used in del.icio.us, flickr, and the ones individuals use to categorize their posts on blogs. This pulling together is very interesting and, again, feels like the tip of an unknowable iceberg. I'm confident that there is tremendous potential their for nonprofits even if I can't exactly articulate that potential.

So, is there a write and wrong way to tag items? Nope, not really, However, the additional tags help to information the second and third goal as well as the first.

This has to be done for some time and with some intensity for it to work. So, if you are interested in this experiment, I urge you to link to it, let your constituency know about it, participate in it. If you aren't please drop me a note in the comments section and let me know why. That, too, is very informative.

(in: nptech, about, nonprofit_technology_taxonomy, tags, folksonomy, experiment)