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Patterns and Inconsistencies in Collaborative Tagging Systems: An Examination of Tagging Practices

Margaret E.I. Kipp and D. Grant Campbell

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


Abstract

This paper analyzes the tagging patterns exhibited by users of del.icio.us, to assess how collaborative tagging supports and enhances traditional ways of classifying and indexing documents. Using frequency data and co-word analysis matrices analyzed by multi-dimensional scaling, the authors discovered that tagging practices to some extent work in ways that are continuous with conventional indexing. Small numbers of tags tend to emerge by unspoken consensus, and inconsistencies follow several predictable patterns that can easily be anticipated. However, the tags also indicated intriguing practices relating to time and task which suggest the presence of an extra dimension in classification and organization, a dimension which conventional systems are unable to facilitate.


  
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