Metadata Suggest

Online communities have been around for ages. Although most of my experience is with forum based sites, communities like [LiveJournal], [Flickr], and Delicious have sparked my interest.

In [Adam Mathes]’ paper entitled Folksonomies – Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata he makes the following point about systems that use ‘tagging’ as categorization:

bq.. As an uncontrolled vocabulary that is shared across an entire system, the terms in a folksonomy have inherent ambiguity as different users apply terms to documents in different ways. There are no explicit systematic guidelines and no scope notes. For example, items tagged with filtering on Delicious included the following:

  • Last.FM – Your personal music network – Personalized online radio station
  • InfoWorld: Collaborative knowledge gardening
  • Wired 12.10: The Long Tail
  • Oh My God It Burns! Practical Applications of the Philosophers stone. For drunks. Brita filter makes bad vodka into good vodka
  • Introduction to Bayesian Filtering

In a search for items tagged “filter” users receive information about Bayesian Filtering (used to stop Spam) and Distilling Vodka. Mathes goes on to mention problems with synonyms (mac/macintosh) and acronyms (ANT vs ant). Letting users create their own vocabulary for labeling metadata is essential – it makes these systems much easier to use.

How about integrating some XMLHttpRequest a la [Google Suggest]? Assist the user in choosing the vocabulary they probably want. I think it’d also be useful to assign another one word description if you’re creating a ‘new’ tag. We can call it user assisted vocabulary. Envision this:

  • user types in ‘filter’
  • user gets real time suggestion of ‘filter (bayesian)’
  • user is not interested in bayesian filtering, but vodka distilling so the user selects makes a new tag (again, seemlessly with DHTML)
  • user makes new tag filter (vodka) or filter (alcohol)

The most popular tags would appear at the top of the list. This could solve the acronym problem, the synonym problem, and a few of the others.

Just a thought. )


About andyhillky
I'm cool.

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