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You are hereSocial Tagging and Access to Collections: podcast + some followup thoughts

Social Tagging and Access to Collections: podcast + some followup thoughts

can we learn from tagging?: Tagging might give us some insight into visitor interests...i was supposed to be in Brazil this morning, talking about "Social Tagging and Access to Collections". unfortunately, visa problems made that trip impossible. the presentation was made via podcast; i've put the files on-line.

it's an introduction to the issues that we're exploring in the project – how social tagging might enable access to art collections – focusing on the gap between user interests (as we know them from queries and reference questions) and museum documentation as created by and for professionals. This work is more formally presented in other steve papers (see below).

that gap exists partially because our documentation standards are theoretical; designed by and for professionals to serve museum functions. i've participated in many initiatives that explored aspects of access to collections – CHIN, FDA, AITF/CDWA, CIDOC, MESL, AMICO – winner take all in the aconymble contest – and don't dispute this as a valid first premise. it's a place we had to start from, but it may not put us in a good position to support public access.

museum data is still seldom shared beyond the bounds of local systems; and when it is, in early cases like MESL or building The AMICO Library, we discover that institutions adapt standards, rather than adopting them. merging data from disparate sources is hard. we compromise on what has to be merged and end up with thin (lowest common denominator) descriptions that may not be adequate for differentiation between similar objects, and may not support user needs.

i'm more convinced, since the discussion with seb and mike about the contribution of tags, that we need to look at the types of terms we're getting as tags and the types of terms searched, when we build on my preliminary analysis of Guggenheim search logs as part of the term analysis.

that way, we'll be able to learn a bit more about the relationship between tag, searches, and documentation structures, and do it within the context of searchers' needs.


Papers on tagging, folksonomy and art museums:

  • J. Trant, D. Bearman and S. Chun, The eye of the beholder: and social tagging of museum collections, in International Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting (ICHIM07): Proceedings, J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. 2007. Published September 30, 2007 at
  • J. Trant. Social Classification and Folksonomy in Art Museums: early data from the tagger prototype, a paper and presentation for the ASIST SIG-CR workshop on Social Classification, November 4, 2006. [pdf preprint] [pdf of presentation slides]
  • J. Trant (2006), "Exploring the potential for social tagging and folksonomy in art museums: proof of concept", New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, Volume 12, Number 1 / June 2006, 83 - 105. PDF Preprint.
  • J. Trant and B. Wyman (2006). Investigating social tagging and folksonomy in art museums with a paper for the Tagging Workshop, World Wide Web 2006. Edinburgh, Scotland, May 22, 2006. PDF preprint.
  • Susan Chun, Rich Cherry, Doug Hiwiller, Jennifer Trant, and Bruce Wyman (2006). An Ongoing Experiment in Social Tagging, Folksonomy, and Museums, Museums and the Web 2006, Albuquerque, March 22-25, 2006. paper on-line
  • David Bearman and Jennifer Trant (2005). “Social Terminology Enhancement through Vernacular Engagement: Exploring Collaborative Annotation to Encourage Interaction with Museum Collections” D-Lib Magazine, September 2005, Volume 11, Number 9 Available: