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.

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

  • Tag clouds and other visual representations of tagging are more useful than mental maps when it comes to reflect the semantic space of a ill-structured knowledge domain. Can be used as a strategy to build expert knowledge. - javier.no javier.no Nov 15, 2011
  • Tagging for content can help a student build a personal repository and aid them in becoming more independent in how they discover knowledge. It can also facilitate the navigation in an online learning environment. - deborah.heal deborah.heal Nov 19, 2011
  • In libraries: tagging can allow for a more free-form democratic classification of knowledge. When combined with controlled vocabulary, it's a very very powerful tool for information discovery. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011

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

  • Twitter hashtags are increasingly being used educators at all levels to connect with others in their field for weekly chat sessions, e.g. #GlobalEd #phdchat (see others listed here http://edutweetups.com/twitter-chats/ and here http://edudemic.com/2011/10/twitter-hashtag-dictionary/). While hashtags are not so focused on classification/folksonomy, they are playing an important role in connecting people to one another - I'm now using hashtags to connect my undergrad/postgrad students, leading to increased peer learning/mentoring. Similarly we are using hashtags to connect students with students in other countries in collaborative projects. Although the inclusion of hashtags as tools for organizing discussion may divert somewhat from the above theme, they are proving extremely powerful and may be worth considering (focusing on the use of hashtags rather than Twitter per se as obviously platforms/services come and go). - helen.keegan helen.keegan Nov 13, 2011
  • Tagging can aid in the efficient sharing or crowd sourcing of other content repositories. It saves an immense amount of time in transferrng data and sources from one cohort to another. - deborah.heal deborah.heal Nov 19, 2011
  • In nearly every survey on the use of web 2.0 technologies tagging is not uses and not intended to use; in my survey more than 90% of students did not know or use tagging. Since blogging has gone down (ARD/ZDF Online Studie 2010; Pew Internet and American Life) I suspect, the technology is too complicated to understand the use of it or involves an outward directed motivation that is not feasable for students today. Maybe tagging is one of the methods of networking that will not survive.- rolf.schulmeister rolf.schulmeister Nov 20, 2011

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • I see tagging as a way to build a personal content repository and to have a rich source with which to collaborate with others. - deborah.heal deborah.heal Nov 19, 2011
  • Tagging experience, portfolio work allows recall and resuse of learning, links to data visualisation- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011
  • your response here
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • In the NASA project we collaborated on, tagging became a much sought after functionality for the student not only to easily navigate around the site, but also to see how to quickly build competencies in multiple areas of skill. It was a way to quickly show relatedness of topics. - deborah.heal deborah.heal Nov 19, 2011
  • It's becoming much more common for library catalogs to include localized tagging. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011
  • Steve Museum 'social tagging may provide profound new ways to describe and access cultural heritage collections and encourage visitor engagement with collection objects. Our activities include researching social tagging and museum collections; developing open source software tools for tagging collections and managing tags; and engaging in discussion and outreach with members of the community who are interested in implementing social tagging for their own collections'.
    http://www.steve.museum/- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011
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