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tags and categories… August 27, 2006

Posted by jennimi in blogging, web 2.0.

there's a librarian in my reference section

Back in January, when I was still using Blogger to host jennimi, I did a quick post about the “tags” I use at the bottom of many of my posts. David Sifry (founder of Technorati) and Libraronin (Library Geek) joined the discussion with some tools that make using tags on Blogger easier.

To recap, tags are one way to specifically categorize your blog posts. For blog providers that don’t directly support categories, or even for ones that do, this is a great way to organize your own thoughts, but mostly to find out what others might be saying about similar topics. Technorati is a leading web 2.0 tool, though I have been leaning toward del.icio.us lately for its social connectivity. Also since myoriginal post, Technorati has changed the layout a bit. Now you’ll find tags in a dropdown on the home page and the html code you need to insert in your posts after you click “add this tag to your posts” just under the searchbar after you search your tag.

Here is my del.icio.us page to give you an idea of how it is a little different. I have also been linking to this over in the right toolbar for some time now (Thanks to Washtub and Libraronin for alerting me, though I had HOPED they’d take me up on my del.icio.us how-to suggestion… In any case, it was QUITE easy to learn on my own). In some ways del.icio.us, to me, is a kind of “metablogging”, where members of a network get a sense of what’s going on in a person’s life by seeing all of the pages they’ve chosen to save. You tag (categorize) these pages, and can even send them to a friend who might be interested.

Technorati is great for its “State of the Blogosphere” demographics and real time indexing of the blogosphere (as most of you are aware search engines like Google are indexing the Internet’s content in various intervals depending on the “importance” of particular sites), but I find it necessary to manually ping my blogs and often find posts I just tagged missing from the list of that particular tag when I go back to check…. Additionally, you can easily find out who is linking back to you but as I have found out, this is not always a positive experience. For now I am continuing to use technorati tags at the end of many of my posts but will likely be moving over to del.icio.us or at least alternating. I have already been told there is an even BETTER service emerging for this, another project for the list of many.

*Another would be to import my extensive blogroll. For now you can see the blogs I subscribe to publicly over at my bloglines list (called “My subscriptions” over at the bottom right under “some links”.)

Categories, as used on WordPress, are a wonderful way to organize within my blog. The list over to the right, called “where I put things” is my list of WordPress categories for all of my posts sicne my switch from blogger, and a few that I went back and edited. Most of my entries are placed in more than one category. This is a quick way I can see what I have posted about particular topics on jennimi. You can also then look and see what others on WP have said about a topic. To me this was one of the prime reasons for leaving Blogger. The post template on WP is easy to work with and my categories are easily viewable as I type.

Whatever system a person is using, the idea is to expand a topic. Just by researching this post, I have found some GREAT new stuff. Hat tip: web 2.0 services that invite users into the process of information organization. Folksonomy, you’re on notice. :)
technorati: , ,
del.icio.us: web 2.0, blogging, tagging, folksonomy


1. Kevin - August 28, 2006

Just to point out, tagging isn’t without inherent flaws. For example, after tagging a lot, it can get messy as Leisa explains here…

2. jennimi - August 28, 2006

Leisa says:

“It’s a complete mess.

Why did this happen? Because I didn’t make any rules when I first started, and my ‘rules’ have evolved over time as I see different ways that other people use tags, and as I succumb to using ’suggested tags’ that break my ‘rules’.”

Agreed! I have also experienced my own rules changing from when I first started… which is why I need to make time to go in and edit. However, at least I now have the capability to even try. It CAN be messy, but all of these things are evolving. For me I tend to have the rules nested in my head…. so you out there might have no clue why I chose a particular tag. Since I consider my own tagging to be first and foremost for ME, the primary user of my flickr, del.icio.us, or other tags, it works. Where it gets sticky is when we are joining up with one another. So, we learn a better term…. hopefully go back and change it. Or, we LIKE our original term, and decide to keep it….

That’s kind of why I like Library Thing, which I have discussed on my other blog briefly. It combines folksonomic tagging with Library of Congress subject headings… the best of both worlds.

Leisa’s points are well taken… but I STILL think the process is fun, and works for me personally. Kevin, what else would you suggest?

3. Kevin - August 30, 2006

I just tag like a mad hatter… tag this and that and this… all night long…

4. Lulu - September 5, 2006

love the pic! Go Nancy!

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