What is Tagging?


Tagging, the practice of attaching a descriptive word or phrase to a piece of online content for the purpose of linking it to other related content, has become a mainstream activity in the past year. Tagging is now being used in very creative and functional ways by people in all kinds of communities, scholarly and otherwise, and even allows researchers to dynamically create coding and classification schema that reflect the collective wisdom of their community. Nearly every website designed for sharing media — whether audio, video, images or other media — includes a field for the author to tag the media at the time of upload. Most all of these sites also allow viewers to add their own tags. Social bookmarking sites allow users to tag — and in some cases, highlight and annotate — web pages for easy retrieval later. The power of community tagging is that large collections can be built easily by leveraging the collective efforts of the community. In the hands of students, it can also be a powerful way to develop information and knowledge management skills.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Low (or zero) cost is a big win for small and stressed campuses. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • Pedagogically, there are all kind of wins to be had in mindful tagging. Information literacy. Coping with info overload. Group work via shared tagging. Class analysis via common tags. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • Also the affordance of comparing one's own tags with larger group recommendations/patterns. The "a-ha" of "I'd never have thought to tag it that way...." (Credit my student Shelby White with this lesson.) - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Tagging is easy on mobile devices, since the practice doesn't require a lot of text entry. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • Some developments in tagging: Diigo, Amplify are advanced beyond Delicious. Scholar.com takes tagging into the CMS world. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • The idea of "tagging" really does bring the issue of indexing into clear view, with delightful results: what is the richest, most productively interplay between schema and exploration, taxonomies and folksonomies? Thinking about tagging is another way of thinking about thinking itself, especially in an environment of communal mental activity. Not a bad payoff for such a humble and simple activity, carefully considered. - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • The paradox: a celebration of metadata, as everyday users tag; metadata's decline, as all text becomes metadata (cf Dave Weinberger). - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010 Love it. - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010
  • another response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


See Shelby White's final project (Jing Screencasts) at http://courseblogs.gardnercampbell.net/shelby/archives/118). Shelby's meditations on tagging are also of interest here: http://courseblogs.gardnercampbell.net/shelby/archives/109 - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010
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