Tagging is such an interesting phenomena to me. Mostly, because it allows something that the library has done for years (cataloguing) and makes it a collaborative experience. I first started tagging 4 years ago when I joined Delicious. On Delicious, I could keep track of websites that I liked, or articles I wanted to read. I still use it a lot today, because as Professor Neal pointed out, you can access it from anywhere, and whether I’m at home or at school, I can quickly get the links that I need. Delicious has changed a bit over the years, I like that they’ve added the ability to tag using a phrase or two words, instead of making one long word. And similar to what Margaret Kipp pointed out, I have a lot of ‘toread’ and ‘fun’ tags in my library. And that’s what is so great about tagging; the ability to organize content according to a users’ unique needs.
Another great feature is being able to share my links with friends or colleagues. I played with Connotea a bit last summer, and although it wasn’t my favourite, I was able to create lists of articles and share it with colleagues. If you don’t have access to RefWorks, then Connotea is a great alternative.
This week I joined LibraryThing, which I should have done a long time ago. I had a lot of fun creating my personal library and organizing the material with my tags. I found it really interesting that the words that I used to tag a book were almost always in the tag cloud. Some of the tags were too broad (ie. Fiction) or irrelevant to me (ie. Read2011), but overall the tags were the same. This tells me that most people generally use the same words to organize their material. As a result, I used the tags to browse for new material and I found some great books that I’m excited to read.
I recently noticed that some academic databases, like Proquest had added tags into their database. I haven’t seen a lot of tagged articles so far, but I’ll be really interested to see if it catches on, and whether searching will improve with the addition of tags. Similarly, library catalogues have included the ability to tag material. I’m not sure if it’s a popular feature for users, but I do think it’s a great way to make the catalogue more interactive and accessible to users.
Overall, tagging adds a great new dimension to the library. And it looks as though tagging will continue to be used in different ways in the future. I hope libraries will continue to incorporate it as much as possible.