Professional conferences on the web–what a great concept! I chose Chris Botcher‘s session entitled “I Like Delicious Things: An Introduction to Tagging and Folksonomies” and was quite excited about attending his conference session in my pajamas. While I was familiar with the term “tagging,” I knew it in terms of naming people in photos on Facebook only. This session gave me a chance to learn all the other “tagging” applications.
Tagging is, for lack of a better term, a filing system. It allows you to file photos, documents, bookmarks, etc. according to labels you apply. What is fantastic is the ability to tag these items several times, thus placing them in several different “files.” For example, if I tagged a photo of the Statue of Liberty I could use the following: statue, statueofliberty, newyork, ellisisland, vacation. This way, if I was looking for vacation pictures, this photo would appear. In the same way, if I was looking for picutres of statues, this photo would appear.
Another wonderful aspect of tagging is the tag cloud. Basically, this is a visual representation of all the tags you’ve used and each word is sized and bolded based on its frequency. Fabulous! A great example of tag clouds can be found viewing U.S. Presidential Speeches Tag Clouds. This site has tagged the inaugural speeches of all the U.S. Presidents. While viewing each president’s speech, you can clearly see what the important issues of the time were by focusing on the largest and boldest tags. This site was a lot of fun to play around with.
Delicious is a website for social bookmarking. It allows you to set up an account and have all your bookmarked websites in one “cyberplace.” Where was this site when I really needed it? I work on one computer at school and two computers at home. When I began this course, I had to manually bookmark all my importants sites on each computer. What a pain! I wish I knew then what I know now! Not only does Delicious aid in bookmarking, but it also allows you to tag your bookmarks. This Web 2.0 thing is getting more user-friendly every day!
Overall, I learned that tagging is a bottom-up classification system and that all these systems together form folksonomies. I thoroughly enjoyed this conference online, however, I still believe that these online conferences cannot take the place of live presentations, as you lose the question and answer periods that usually follow. While this material was easy to grasp, some is not as easy and I would surely require that “q and a” with the presenter.