As content is organized, the standard approaches include hierarchical or flat. One or both utilize tags to put labels on the content, which makes the information easily retrievable when the user needs access. Tags can be used as a part of filtering search queries or fixed views of a content source. Tags are created in various ways with various methods. An organization can decide to implement tags from the top down, meaning that tags only exist if the organization representative have created it. If tags don’t already exist, this often leads to organizations allowing users to create tags themselves. These tags are called folksonomy tags and are causing many concerns. This interesting topic and question came from the user site, UX Stack Exchange, in their post, “Should folksonomy tags be governed or not?

They have the advantage of being simple and easy to use, and users don’t have to ask for permission upon creation. But that is also part of the problem. Unattended taggging presents a strong risk of spelling errors, incorrect tagging, and no tagging at all.

It costs time to govern folksonomy tags. This time can be seen as an investment to make the information retrieval more accurate. But is it worth the cost?

Maybe there is a hybrid approach to taxonomy and folksonomy. The idea is that making use of both formal and informal methods yields good results. The challenge is for an organization to create a framework within which folksonomies can contribute.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in taxonomies, metadata, and semantic enrichment to make your content findable.