What is Tagging?


Tagging, the practice of attaching a descriptive word or phrase to a piece of online content for the purpose of linking it to other related content, has become a mainstream activity in the past year. Tagging is now being used in very creative and functional ways by people in all kinds of communities, scholarly and otherwise, and even allows allow researchers to dynamically create coding and classification schema that reflect the collective wisdom of their community.. Nearly every website designed for sharing media — whether audio, video, images or other media — includes a field for the author to tag the media at the time of upload. Most all of these sites also allow viewers to add their own tags. Social bookmarking sites allow users to tag — and in some cases, highlight and annotate — web pages for easy retrieval later. The power of community tagging is that large collections can be built easily by leveraging the collective efforts of the community. In the hands of students, it can also be a powerful way to develop information and knowledge management skills.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • your response here
  • another response here

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • The flip-side of being a low-cost approach to metadata generation, is the lack of semantic precision. To refer to one of your other examples, is a resource tagged with turkey related to the bird, the country and cookery? Not an argument against tagging, but needs referring to above. - andy.powell andy.powell May 18, 2011
  • I'd expand the definition of tagging here. While digital tagging (connecting digital information/locations to other digital information/locations, and connecting the digital to the physical world) some of the most interesting things going on in relation to tagging are to do with overlaying the digital and physical environments, and connecting/accessing/elaborating on the physical world the digital. The Internet of Things stuff and QR Codes are obvious practices/techs to include here. - josie.fraser josie.fraser May 18, 2011
  • Big overlap with geolocation if you expand the definition - josie.fraser josie.fraser May 18, 2011
  • Perhaps that it is such an important topic, given the need for us all to be able to steer our way through our own personal digital worlds. Links to semantic web, doesn't it? Who do we want to do the tagging? Google? Role for Information professionals here that they haven't fully discovered/realised. Links to digital literacy as well. - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, research or information management within the next five years?

  • A low-cost, easy approach to sharing and discovering learning-related content. - andy.powell andy.powell May 18, 2011 I agree. I'm truly amazed that social-bookmarking hasn't taken-off in HE. If ever there was an application that was designed for educators, this was it. - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011
  • The use of services like del.icio.us to manage and tag (and possibly share) lists of useful resources - ditto Flickr, YouTube, Slideshare, whatever... - andy.powell andy.powell May 19, 2011

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


  • My understanding (which may be wrong) is that OpenJORUM mixes a 'tagging' approach with approaches based on more formal metadata schema. - andy.powell andy.powell May 19, 2011
Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form.