Blog Post 4: Are folksonomies useful?

folksonomies = a system of classification

Yes, very useful as folksonomies groups together like things. So if I were to go to a library, books on a subject are usually all together in a folksonomy called the Dewey Decimal System or Library of Congress Classifications; this way I see similar items I wouldn’t have thought to look at.

Folksonomies are also online, such as grouping like items within a website. In a broader scheme, tagging can group together similarly-tagged items across different websites. We only find those items that are similar if they are: 1) tagged, or 2) tagged with the same word that I am searching for.  Tags are created by the web developer and sometimes the words used for tags are not the best words to describe the content (uncontrolled vocabulary – very inconsistent). The solution to this is for everyone to use controlled vocabulary from a single community. Dr. Bonnici mentions the OPAC putting tags on works now so we could go to WorldCat, look up something related (since I’m usually not tagging a book, I’m usually tagging a blog or article that probably isn’t in WorldCat) and use tags from that related item. I searched for these tagged items and couldn’t find the tags on items I searched for (searched for “informatics”). Closest I got was using this URL:  and putting the tag I want to see in the blank. So if you put I get 10 books that are tagged with informatics. I can then pick tags for those to use in my similar posts.

Is a folksonomy an ontology?

An ontology is the nature of being, and the categories that make up “being” and those categories’ relations. In such that a category that makes up the being could be a descriptor of the being, then it would be folksonomy. I would it really isn’t though, as ontology is the parts making of the whole like a hierarchy, whereas a folksonomy is grouping things that are similar together.


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