User-based indexing: a leap of faith or a descent into the abyss? Charlotte Smith
Tags on Flickr • Uncontrolled (problem of variant spellings, lack of equivalent terms, homographs, synonyms etc.) • Unmediated • Tags used not always informational to all • Relevant retrieval lies in the mind of the image’s ‘author’
LibraryThing • Really useful for organising your own book lists and browsing for new reads • Again, uncontrolled vocabulary may lead to lack of precision • Each reader conducting a subject analysis, resulting in overwhelming tag clouds
Traditional Subject Indexing • Controlled vocabulary • Information professional performing subject analysis • Aim of maximum relevant information retrieval
Cultural Interpretation • Collaboration between users and information professionals • Utilising user’s specific knowledge to generate deeper meaning • Retaining a controlled vocabulary ensures high precision
Catalogue Collaborations • User-based indexing existing alongside a controlled vocabulary in the catalogue • University of Pennsylvania • University of Huddersfield – OPAC 2.0
“In the pre-internet age, T.H. Huxley’s scenario of infinite monkeys empowered with infinite technology seemed more like a mathematical jest than a dystopian vision… Today’s technology hooks all those monkeys up with all those typewriters. Except in our Web 2.0 world, the typewriters aren’t quite typewriters, but rather networked personal computers, and the monkeys aren’t quite monkeys, but rather Internet users. And instead of creating masterpieces, these millions and millions of exuberant monkeys – many with no more talent in the creative arts than our primate cousins – are creating an endless digital forest of mediocrity. For today’s amateur monkeys can use their networked computers to publish everything from uninformed political commentary, to unseemly home videos, to embarrassingly amateurish music, to unreadable poems, reviews, essays, and novels.” Keen, A. (2007) The cult of the amateur pp. 2-3
References • References • http://www.aadl.org • http://www.shirky.com/writings/ontology_overrated.html • http://www.flickr.com • http://www.librarything.com • http://maislin.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem • http://webcat.hud.ac.uk/ipac20/ipac.jsp?profile=cls#focus • http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=37564#645010 • Karen Marie (‘what are you reading now’ rethinking tags post) June 17 2008 • Foskett, A.C. (1996) The subject approach to information. London: Library Association. • Keen, A. (2007) The cult of the Amateur London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing • Rafferty, Pauline and Hidderly, Rob. (2007) “Flickr and Democratic Indexing: Dialogic Approaches to Indexing”, Aslib Proceedings 59:4 397-410.