DEFINITION: What is tagging?

Definition of tag from as of 10/26/2006 at 12:20pm
A tag is like a subject or category. This page shows the most popular tags, starting with the ones that are hottest today. The bigger the text, the more active that tag is. They are currently tracking 10.4 million tags.

This is an example of a Tag Cloud. The larger a word, the more often it is used.



Here is the definition of folksonomy from wikipedia as of october 26, 2006, 11:00am:
A folksonomy is an Internet-based information retrieval methodology consisting of collaboratively generated, open-ended labels that categorize content such as Web pages, online photographs, and Web links. A folksonomy is most notably contrasted from a taxonomy in that the authors of the labeling system are often the main users (and sometimes originators) of the content (who are just plain folks!) to which the labels are applied. The labels are commonly known as tags and the labeling process is called tagging.

The process of folksonomic tagging is intended to make a body of information increasingly easier to search, discover, and navigate over time. A well-developed folksonomy is ideally accessible as a shared vocabulary that is both originated by, and familiar to its primary users. Two widely cited examples of websites using folksonomic tagging are Flickr and, although it has been suggested that Flickr is not a good example of folksonomy.[1]

Because folksonomies develop in Internet-mediated social environments, users can discover (generally) who created a given folksonomy tag, and see the other tags that this person created. In this way, folksonomy users often discover the tag sets of another user who tends to interpret and tag content in a way that makes sense to them. The result, often, is an immediate and rewarding gain in the user's capacity to find related content. Part of the appeal of folksonomy is its inherent subversiveness: faced with the dreadful performance of the search tools that Web sites typically provide, folksonomies can be seen as a rejection of the search engine status quo in favor of tools that are both created by the community and beneficial to the community.

Folksonomy creation and searching tools are not part of the underlying World Wide Web protocols. Folksonomies arise in Web-based communities where special provisions are made at the site level for creating and using tags. These communities are established to enable Web users to label and share user-generated content, such as photographs, or to collaboratively label existing content, such as Web sites, books, works in the scientific and scholarly literatures, and blog entries.


General Information about the Benefits of Tagging

According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report entitled "Search Engine Users":
  • 92% of search engine users say they are confident in their searching ability
  • 87% say they are successful most of the time and
  • 17% of search engine users say they always find the information they are looking for

But the problem is not in finding information or relevant websites, it is in organizing, maintaining, and later being able to recall those same websites that is problematic. As Adam Seldow of the Harvard Graduate School of Education writes:

"An overabundance of websites created early in the 21st century fueled ongoing efforts to categorize and organize the Web. Google, Yahoo!, AOL and others experimented with complex page ranking systems and algorithms in an effort to link information seekers to pertinent information. Finding websites became less a difficult task and more an exercise in organizing and saving them."

The use of tags has not only allowed users to organize their own bookmarks, but to also find other relevant websites on topics of personal interest.

Because of the current rise of social bookmarking and social interaction of internet sites, tagging standards would benefit all users.

Benefits of Tagging for Educators

According to eSchool News article titled For some educators, tagging is 'it', educators tag for the following reasons:
  • cuts down online clutter to deliver more relevant bits of information
  • easier to find desired information again
  • direct students quickly and easily to more relevant educational content online
  • allow users to make their list of tags and sites available to (and searchable by) either a closed community of individuals or all other web surfers

Benefits include: organization of common topics, understanding other's pages, simplified categories help students, quickly able to search and retrieval for any topic.


Here is an interesting article from the webpage of Shadows an online web sharing site.


The examples below are from eSchool News article titled For some educators, tagging is 'it' (you must be a subscriber to eSchool News to view the article).
  • Use to get information to students on different topics and have students subscribe to RSS feed
  • Use to organize resources for courses and subjects they teach, which is useful if a teacher teaches more than one class or subject
  • Use tags on Flickr to find Creative Commons-licensed photos for presentations and lectures
  • Use a prefix on a tag (example: use mrh-circle instead of circle) to find resources only from a class, school, or school district, or any other group



One of the main drawbacks about tagging is that the words do have personal meaning and it is common for people to use different words for the same items.

Very few taggers are using tags for grade levels. A tagging standard for grade levels can help teachers use tags to find relevant information for the grade level they teach.

Many taggers tag their items with specific tags which makes it hard to find items. Being broad in a tag would allow teachers to find accurate information.

Another benefit of tagging standards is that teachers will be able to network with each other easier. Right now many people tag education related tags. Using tagging standards can help identifty how many educators are tagging. If someone is using these standards, then we know they are interested in K-12 Education.


There should be at least 3 tags used for tagging bookmarks, photos, websites, and blog entries.

One tag must have the grade level. Tags should be either Kindergarten, 1stGrade, 2ndGrade, 3rdGrade, 4thGrade......12thGrade. If it is all grades, use k12.

Another tag must contain the subject, but make it broad. Examples include Math, English, Science, SocialStudies, Technology, PhysicalEd, and Music.
High School teachers who are teaching Math, Science, Social Studies, or another specific class must add another tag. Examples include Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, Biology, WorldHistory, USHistory, and Geography.

Then you need to add at least one tag that is specific. For example, you are tagging a website about adding fractions. You can either tag it as Addition and/or Fractions.

Here is an example of this tagging standard: 11thGrade Math Algebra Addition Fractions
Note that this has 5 different tags.

To find resources that are tagged with all 5 tags you would use

Regardless of what is established, technology leaders should be setting the path for the future with tagging. If we can set some standards, then the tags created later can be understood by all.


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