While examining subject headings and tags is a popular research topic, most studies focus on comparing user-assigned tags and professional subject heading. Studies that compare Library of Congress Subject Headings to user-assigned tags, for instance, dominate the literature. However, little research has involved an examination on how and to what extent these features are actually used by library staff. This study adds to the body of knowledge. This study aims to focus on how librarians perceive and use tags. By focusing on people’s perceptions rather than simply comparing social tags and formal subject headings, new insights can be collected.
This research collects data through semi-structured interviews conducted with 12 library staff from various roles and locations throughout Auckland Libraries.
The research findings show that while social tags have been adopted and used in their work by the majority of library staff interviewed, there remains resistance to using them. Some library staff preferred the traditional hierarchical subject headings found in the traditional catalogue. A general lack of awareness about tag functions and features is also evident among the staff interviewed.
The research focus is unique because it examines this phenomenon in a public library setting rather than in academic libraries, an area that is rarely examined in the literature.
The authors would like to thank the reviewers and the editorial team for their helpful advice and assistance. The authors also acknowledge support from Claire Scott and Lesley Clements.
Clements, L. and Liew, C. (2016), "Talking about tags: An exploratory study of librarians’ perception and use of social tagging in a public library", The Electronic Library, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 289-301. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-12-2014-0216Download as .RIS
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