The Structure and Form of Folksonomy Tags: The Road to the Public Library Catalog
This article examines the linguistic structure of folksonomy tags collected over a thirty-day period from the daily tag logs of Del.icio.us, Furl, and Technorati. The tags were evaluated against the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) guidelines for the construction of controlled vocabularies. The results indicate that the tags correspond closely to the NISO guidelines pertaining to types of concepts expressed, the predominance of single terms and nouns, and the use of recognized spelling. Problem areas pertain to the inconsistent use of count nouns and the incidence of ambiguous tags in the form of homographs, abbreviations, and acronyms. With the addition of guidelines to the construction of unambiguous tags and links to useful external reference sources, folksonomies could serve as a powerful, flexible tool for increasing the user-friendliness and interactivity of public library catalogs, and also may be useful for encouraging other activities, such as informal online communities of readers and user-driven readers’ advisory services.