Dual Folksonomy Triad

by Thomas Vander Wal in , , , ,

Needing to Express Folksonomy Simply

I have been presenting tagging and folksonomy quite a few times in the past two years. I kept coming back to needing a simple to understand view of what is happening in folksonomy that separates it from general tagging. I also wanted to show how it is relatively easy to disambiguate some of the perceived mess in tagging, if it follows the folksonomy standard of clear object being tagged, the simple tag, and an identity of the person tagging.

Folksonomy Triad

These three elements are the Folksonomy Triad. These items do not stand alone, but the relationships between them express a concept. From these concepts we start to easily see the relationships between the elements are quire important. Not only are they important, but understanding the relationship can help provide clarity in not only clearing up what others call a mess, but help easily find information (in addition to refinding information).

The Object

It must be clearly understood what object the tag is being applied to. The object of the tag in tools like del.icio.us is clear as it is the item being bookmarked. It is a simple interface from that standpoint and that removes ambiguity. In blog tags the object is not clear, as we are rarely sure if the tag relates to the blog post or what is being written about in the blog tag.