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Newsweek Magazine : tagging looks promising

Blogged about the tagging of content this am and ran across an article about tagging in April 18th’s edition of Newsweek this afternoon. And once things start hitting the main stream press, whether from a innovative writer like Steven Levy or not, the topic is probably worth paying attention to.

Like Steve Rubel in this morning’s post, Levy draws on the anology of the Dewey Decimal Classification System.

Today’s digital world—where millions of items are generated on an hourly basis, and even fantastic search engines can’t find all the good stuff—is tougher to organize than a herd of Democrats. But Internet pundits now claim a solution: let the people do the categorizing. Using a practice called tagging, we can collectively label everything from great literature to pictures of your puppy. Bye-bye, Dewey. Hello, do-it-yourself.

As the name implies, tagging something means putting a virtual label on it. (Software lets you do this by simply typing a word; from then on, it’s linked to the content.) What the tag says is totally up to you. The important thing is that later you—and others—can find things simply by the tag name. Think of tagging as the opposite of search. By leaving linguistic bread crumbs behind on your wanderings through cyberspace, you can easily relocate the sights (and sites) you saw along the way.

But ‘keeping found things found’—as Clay Shirky, a teacher at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, explains—is only the first benefit of a grass-roots tagging system. Whereas the old, Dewey-style taxonomies involved graybeards figuring out in advance how things should be categorized, tagging is done on the fly, adapting to the content itself. What’s more, because all this is digital, there’s no limit to the number of tags people can slap on an item. In a library you can put ‘Frederick the Great’ in the history or the biography section, but you’d need a second copy to put it in both. With digital tags you could use both, and more: military,Prussia, really great reads.”

And if you don’t think corporations see the potential of tagging, Amazon is funding a tagging site called 43 Things and others see Net giants—eBay, iTunes and even Google and Yahoo—getting into tagging.

Get the feeling you cannot keep up with marketing technology? I do.

Source of post: BlogTyme

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