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  NOTES- ‘Beyond Folksonomies: Knitting Tag Clouds for Grandma’  
Posted 2006-03-11 by Tony Walsh
Beyond Folksonomies: Knitting Tag Clouds for Grandma
Room 16AB
Saturday, March 11th 10:00 am - 11:00 am

I chose to attend this panel because: I couldn't find anything more interesting to do, and besides, panelist Liz Lawley is a smarty-pants.

Panel: Lawley, Hodder, Swedlow, Wynia.

Swedlow: A folksonomy is a bottom-up method of organization, as opposed to a taxonomy, which is top-down.
Wynia: Explains how terminology differs along cultural lines.
Swedlow: Folksonomy = "Language"
Lawley: Doesn't think folksonomy is another word for language -- classification is not language. People get to define their own ways of classifying things with a folksonomy.
Wynia, Swedlow: Folksonomy and blog are invented terms, examples of folksnomic classification. Folksonomic terms are shared.
Swedlow: Explains difference between pidgin language and creole. Creole is more grammatically advanced. We are in the pidgin stages of folksonomies. We need contextualization tools to bring our pidgin to the creole stage.
Wynia: Example folksonomies- Flickr, -- tags are the words of folksonomy.
Hodder: What are more options for tagging? Current tag structures don't have very good usability--most current systems are rather sloppy in terms of interface. Hodder doesn't think current teams are focussed on improving usability of tag-based systems.
Swedlow: Wants us to think more about tools and feature sets that will help more people "get" and share folksonomies.
Q from Bill Anderson: Tools should be made from the user-level up. What do people use these systems for? Find that out and maybe we can make better tools.
Swedlow: Talks about emergent semantics... says that folksonomies and taxonomies are not opposite, but serve different and complimentary purposes. Emergence helps to organically create an accepted structure. Talks about "implicit tagging." is building an "attention tracker" and stores data in an OPML file -- "it's a big pile of links"
Hodder: Is on AttentionTrust board. Explains how data submission is not mandatory. The Attention Recorder gives feedback and visualizes how you spend your time. Not a big fan of automated tagging. Talks about her video remix community in development, not yet launched. This new service is collecting data, has about 70k videos, 100 users in beta program. Not all videos have been tagged, and there are a couple hundred thousand videos yet to be filed. Most people tag rich media when the opportunity exists. It's less critical to tag a text file. Videos are often chosen for playback based on tag or duration. Values the fact that a human does the tagging, not a machine. Someone had to think about the context, and therefore creates better information.
Swedlow: Implicit tagging leverages human work that has already been done. Creating a volume of tags can assist the formation of a new level of meaning.
Audience member: Compares tagging to a museum, where the curator's opinion/assigned meaning and public's opinion/assigned meaning about a work are both valid.
Wynia: Talks about his Bayesian filtering system for spam, says it knows spam better than he does. Never would have guessed that a filter could be so accurate.
Swedlow: Most people agree on what spam is--wisdom of the crowd. But some area of expertise might not be able to be defined by a crowd, but could be defined by a trust network.
Lawley: Wants to move beyond definitions and into forecasting. Asks how many people use tagging systems and says we are in the vast minority. Talks about social site fatigue. Talks about the lack of system interoperability. We need to integrate these systems into things people already use. Mentions how Vista OS will incorporate user tagging. How do we build tools that make people's lives easier? We are really self-absorbed in this space. Uses in the classroom, files material in tags. We don't spend a lot of time thinking about use scenarios. Says that librarians and professors aren't so thrilled with the wisdom of crowds. For most things, this wisdom isn't useful. A subset is better. Not friends, but trusted filters. Many people are starting to use these tools for that kind of filtering, but this requires power-usage (power-users).
Audience member: Sometimes you can gauge the validity of a tag based on your opinion of it--i.e. if person A tags something "excellent" then you'll probably tag it "crappy."
Lawley: We haven't properly explained to people what the value of tagging is.
Swedlow: We need to make the usefulness the tagging apparent. Narrowing down options is one use.
Audience member: When you tag something you're doing it for the community... doesn't have time to tag things for other people...
Wynia: Uses tags to get a sense of what a particular community thinks of a subject.
Lawley: The value of tagging is different for each user. We need to have a lot of different usage scenarios. We need to start thinking about problems and how to use tools to solve them, rather than building a tool and trying to find something to do with it.

Sites: iTag, AttentionTrust
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