What do you call a classification system where everyone gets to be a creator? Metadata by community? Grassroots free tagging? A folksonomy, of course. Systems like this are being used at places like Flickr and Del.icio.us and unalog. I've seen this term hitting the blogosphere but not really getting a foothold on the library blogs yet so here are some links for further reading. Can you say "user oriented"? I bet you can.
- peterme from Adaptive Path [who coined the term weblog] waxes folksonomically
- slashdot, naturally
- a neat little bullet-pointed list
perhaps the most important strength of a folksonomy is that it directly reflects the vocabulary of users. In an information retrieval system, there are at least two, and possibly many more vocabularies present (Buckland, 1999). These could include that of the user of the system, the designer of the system, the author of the material, the creators of the classification scheme; translating between these vocabularies is often a difficult and defining issue in information systems. As discussed earlier, a folksonomy represents a fundamental shift in that it is derived not from professionals or content creators, but from the users of information and documents. In this way, it directly reflects their choices in diction, terminology, and precision.