The digitalization of information has spawned many new concepts and terminology. One such term is folksonomy, which is a collaborative effort to create user-initiated classification systems. The term is a combination of folks and taxonomy and is also known as collaborative tagging and social indexing. Folksonomies became popular on the web around 2004 as part of social software applications such as social bookmarking and photograph annotation. Tagging, which is one of the defining characteristics of Web 2.0 services, allows users to collectively classify and find information. Some websites include tag clouds as a way to visualize tags in a folksonomy (Wikipedia 2012b).
The idea of “tagging” information for electronic information retrieval has been around for several decades, but the concept of folksonomies began parallel to the development of Web 2.0. This brought about a growth in the concept of user contributions to the information stores and the accessing processes. With this growth came the need for methods, facilities, and soft-ware to adequately meet the needs of this new generation of user contributors. The “production of user-generated content, the development of collaborative information services and the usage of folksonomies, as well as the popularity of these three aspects, are mutually dependent” (Peters 2009).
Folksonomies have two basic characteristics. First, they let the user add tags to information; second, they enable the creation of navigational links from those tags to extend the search and give a foundation for organizing the information. The idea is that people can tag things the way that makes sense to them, for example, a photo collection of family vacations.
Without a doubt, folksonomies are becoming the significant part of the indexing world. It has been pointed out that social tagging will add value to the services of information organizations by supporting socialization and helping foster collaboration between the information service organization and the users. This tagging helps to enhance subject description and fo-ster dynamic vocabularies, but “difficulties arise in developing efficient and effective methods of taking advantage of this synergy” (Kakali and Paptheodorou 2010, 201).
- Cleveland, A. D., & Cleveland, D. B. (2013). Introduction to Indexing and Abstracting: Fourth Edition. ABC-CLIO.