The Library Catalogue

Continuing along the folksonomy thoughtstream, news today of Freetagging — “Freetag is an easy tagging and folksonomy-enabled plugin for use with MySQL-PHP applications.

It allows you to create tags on existing database schemas, and access and manage your tags through a robust API.”

An attractive idea, for sure. And they make it sound so easy – “You point it at your users, then you point it at your objects, and use the API to allow your users to tag your objects. Eventually, it will be extended with a RESTful interface, so that you can plop a gateway PHP script somewhere and get instant access and inter-operation between any applications that use Freetag.”

The layering of services such as this presents a lot of opportunity, especially if one could ever weave different “faces” onto the content contained within the catalogue.

One of the hold-ups with serious innovation and adoption of a different system is presumably that it means rejecting the way the online catalogue has always been presented and controlled by us (controls which in turn aid us in our ability to track inventory and circulation, no argument there).

A Flickr-like library catalogue (web service) that wasn’t in opposition to current cataloguing, but simply expands on the user’s ability to self-tag an item with a meaningful label, in order to–share it–browse for it–display it–refind it–would be an interesting way to give back the catalogue (I was at a Firefox presentation today so I think the “Give back the web” theme is in my head).

This could function as a current awareness service or a dynamic peer selection/discovery service of a sort that we haven’t really attempted, or explored, in in the online academic library, at least at a local level (reviewing services like Faculty of 1000 or Computing Reviews would do this in a more systematic way at a broader level).

Speaking of tags and Flickr, this tag search interface is kind of fun to play with…

I was looking through the listserv (some good discussion there, especially as of late as the non-lurkers debate Stefano Mazzocchi’s thoughtful writing on Folksologies: de-idealizing ontologies…but I digress…) and noticed that tag bundling was in beta. Bundling allows you to group related tags under a common header — quite useful if your tag list is starting to get a wee bit lengthy.

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