What a delight to read the Learning 2.0 lessons on tagging from our Technical Services Coordinator, Margaret! Here goes; my sample search for lesson 12, exercise 1 is (what else?): harry potter.
1. Google finds “about” 125,000,000 hits (only 119,000,000 if I search as a phrase).
2. our library catalog, eQuest, finds 39 hits in a keywords search (harry AND potter).
3. when I search Harry Potter as a subject, I get, sadly, zero. Aren’t there books *about* Harry Potter that we own? Aren’t the Harry Potter books *about* Harry Potter? Trying (and failing, I think) to think like an undergraduate, here.
What parallels do I see between the catalog and tagging on the web? I’m not sure I it’s fair to draw parallels between searching Google and eQuest for harry potter and the tagging found there, because I have no way of knowing where Google is finding those words in those pages. I think a fitter comparison might be between flickr and eQuest. When I search flickr for Harry Potter, I get 85,559 images–including one of my own! That’s still vastly more than eQuest. It’s still sort of apples and oranges to compare flickr images–of course I’ll find more hits among the bajillion flickr images than our million-odd records. Anyway, looking at the results that I get on flickr, I see harry and/or potter in tags, titles, descriptions and notes.
Exercise 2 has us reviewing the tags that we use on our blogs, flickr images and in our librarything catalog. I’m all over the tagging map. I’m most consistent in flickr, where I definitely want to go back and find things: my most common tags are “ak,” “b” and “daughter,” which makes perfect sense, as they are my most-frequently-photographed subjects. I use tags in librarything to give books ratings, rather than using the rating system; I’m not surprised that my biggest tags there are threestars, to_read, wishlist (where I used to keep my to_read stuff!) and scifi.
One last tidbit on tagging: it’s common for flickr photographers to inject a little humor by using funny tags.