To tag or not to tag?

Marliese Thomas (Cataloging Department, Auburn University Libraries, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Dana M. Caudle (Cataloging Department, Auburn University Libraries, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Cecilia M. Schmitz (Cataloging Department, Auburn University Libraries, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Publication date: 4 September 2009

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to provide a quantitative analysis of the extent to which folksonomies replicate the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to see if folksonomies would successfully complement cataloger‐supplied subject headings in library catalogs.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper compares social tags and LC subject headings for ten books from various library‐related applications including next generation OPACs and LibraryThing by ranking tags and subject headings using scales modified from research by Golder and Huberman, Voorbij, and Kipp.

Findings

Social tagging does indeed augment LCSH by providing additional access to resources.

Research limitations/implications

Several of our applications lacked tags for the books we chose in our study. Tags are primarily taken from LibraryThing.

Practical implications

A hybrid catalog combining both LCSH and a folksonomy would result in richer metadata and be stronger than the sum of its parts, giving patrons the best of both worlds in terms of access to materials.

Originality/value

This paper supplies quantitative support for the use of folksonomies in a library's catalog. The data also supports many of the previous theories proposed in literature about folksonomies and social tagging.

Keywords

Citation

Marliese Thomas, Dana M. Caudle and Cecilia M. Schmitz (2009) "To tag or not to tag?", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 411-434

Download as .RIS

DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/07378830910988540

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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