David Weinberger, co-author of Cluetrain Manifesto and currently a fellow at Harvard Berman Center, discussed tagging and taxonomy. He is currently working on a book that is due out in May 2007 which deals with organizing ideas and the affect it has on our culture, primarily knowledge. He drew the analogy that sorting information is like sorting your laundry (something I hate doing) but a good analogy.
What is a tag? David defined tags as metadata in ordinary language applied by users or readers of the information. He said that tags that are used by the author of content are really just keywords. I don’t know if I agree with that statement entirely.
Why is tagging all the sudden such a hot issue? David said that the applications have caught up and added tags to create a social aspect to online applications. He cited del.icio.us, Flickr and others. David thinks that tagging is a great way to organize and sort digital photos. David also talked about batch tagging processes face recognition application like Riya to help make the tagging process easier.
Will newspapers be affected by this? David pointed out that we already replaced newspapers editorial control since we are reading the news through digg, reddit or other means. So over time we could start subscribing to people instead of websites and David thinks it is somewhere in the near future.
Is there such thing as tagging glut? No, away to many tags actually can be very useful in presenting clustering. Flickr actually does a really good job of this already. David also touched on folksonomy pointing to eBay as one of the most well known folksonomy. Folksonomy or bottom up taxonomy, is created by looking at what people are tagging to create a taxonomy. eBay buckets to display items and you must conform to the buckets that eBay chooses. David also pointed out that "old school" taxonomy is very one dimensional while tagging is multi-dimensional since you can tag a piece of content with multiple tags thus better describing content.