Taking the Folk out of Folksonomy

I came across TagCloud a few days ago, but am just not getting around to blogging about it.

It purports to be an “automated tool.” More from them:

Essentially, TagCloud searches any number of RSS feeds you specify, extracts keywords from the content and lists them according to prevalence within the RSS feeds. Clicking on the tag’s link will display a list of all the article abstracts associated with that keyword.

TagCloud lets you create and manage clouds with content you are interested in, and let’s you publish them on your own website.

I don’t get where folksonomy comes in to play here. They have tags, yes, but a key characteristic of folksonomy is that it is collection of user created data. There’s no user creation here, all the tags they’re extracting are derived from the text itself by their algorithms.

Auto-tagging is not folkonomy. Jonas and I have been over this, remember? This post pretty much sums up my arguments against auto-tagging, though some the arguments presented there don’t apply to tagcloud, I’m not re-presenting the arguments, so just go read them there and figure out for yourself which ones apply.

3 Responses to “Taking the Folk out of Folksonomy”

  1. limbo Says:

    automatically generated folksonomy??? sounds more like automatically generated buzzword compliance.

  2. vanderwal Says:

    Ding ding ding. Winner. It is not a TagClouds are not a folksonomy, tag clouds weren’t enough of a buzzword in their own right I guess. The weighted tag visualization is an odd contraption that is only useful in limited circumstances, but who cares if it is useful if it is cool.

    Tags can be helpful, but pulling tags out of text is redundant and adds no true value. In fact, Technorati’s keywords are still far more helpful for me than their Tags. Technorati keywords get pulled from the text and are representative of the content of the text being referenced. Tags applied by the creator of text content still falls in to the Cory Doctorow realm of “metacrap” as the author is trying to guess what others call something or what will draw other people to the content, which helps very few. It is a rare occasion where Technorati tags on general terms helps me find anything of use (often because it is incorrectly tagged), but Technorati tags work for very well for those social pre-determined event tags, like webvisions2005 or aon (for the always on network conference).

    Where as consumer generated tags for their own retrieval are more helpful for themselves and others with the same vocabulary. These many times add value as they are terms not in the text. It is another point of view, which is where we get cross-discipline and cross-cultural value, among many other rich additions.

  3. Theron Parlin Says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I thought you might be interested in some work I did to create a complete tagging system built on top of wordpress categories. No mods to core files or db needed. Check it out.