Collaborative tagging, folksonomies, distributed classification or ethnoclassification: a literature review

Edith Speller
Assistant Librarian
Royal College of Music
London, United Kingdom

Library Student Journal,
February 2007

Abstract

Tagging, folksonomy, distributed classification, ethnoclassification—however it is labelled, the concept of users creating and aggregating their own metadata is gaining ground on the internet. This literature review briefly defines the topic at hand, looking at current implementations and summarizing key advantages and disadvantages of distributed classification systems with reference to prominent folksonomy commentators.

After considering whether distributed classification can replace expert catalogers entirely, it concludes that distributed classification can make an important contribution to digital information organisation, but that it may need to be integrated with more traditional organisation tools to overcome its current weaknesses.

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