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Illusions of a “Bond”: tagging cultural products across online platforms

Nadine Desrochers (École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l'information, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada)
Audrey Laplante (École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l'information, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada)
Kim Martin (Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)
Anabel Quan-Haase (Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)
Louise Spiteri (School of Information Management, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 10 October 2016

Abstract

Purpose

Most studies pertaining to social tagging focus on one platform or platform type, thus limiting the scope of their findings. The purpose of this paper is to explore social tagging practices across four platforms in relation to cultural products associated with the book Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming.

Design/methodology/approach

A layered and nested case study approach was used to analyse data from four online platforms: Goodreads, Last.fm, WordPress, and public library social discovery platforms. The top-level case study focuses on the book Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming and its derivative products. The analysis of tagging practices in each of the four online platforms is nested within the top-level case study. Casino Royale was conceptualized as a cultural product (the book), its derived products (e.g. movies, theme songs), as well as a keyword in blogs. A qualitative, inductive, and context-specific approach was chosen to identify commonalities in tagging practices across platforms whilst taking into account the uniqueness of each platform.

Findings

The four platforms comprise different communities of users, each platform with its own cultural norms and tagging practices. Traditional access points in the library catalogues focused on the subject, location, and fictitious characters of the book. User-generated content across the four platforms emphasized historical events and periods related to the book, and highlighted more subjective access points, such as recommendations, tone, mood, reaction, and reading experience. Revealing shifts occur in the tags between the original book and its cultural derivatives: Goodreads and library catalogues focus almost exclusively on the book, while Last.fm and WordPress make in addition cross-references to a wider range of different cultural products, including books, movies, and music. The analyses also yield apparent similarities in certain platforms, such as recurring terms, phrasing and composite or multifaceted tags, as well as a strong presence of genre-related terms for the book and music.

Originality/value

The layered and nested case study approach presents a more comprehensive theoretical viewpoint and methodological framework by which to explore the study of user-generated metadata pertaining to a range of related cultural products across a variety of online platforms.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research received financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant No. 430-2011-0396 and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant No. R3603A13. Further thanks are given to Catherine Saint-Arnaud-Babin, research assistant for both the Goodreads and Last.fm study. An earlier version of this work was presented at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T 2013), in Montreal and published in the proceedings (Desrochers et al., 2013).

Citation

Desrochers, N., Laplante, A., Martin, K., Quan-Haase, A. and Spiteri, L. (2016), "Illusions of a “Bond”: tagging cultural products across online platforms", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 72 No. 6, pp. 1027-1051. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-09-2015-0110

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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