Connecting this emergent technology as
enabling ontology engineering and ontology management provides an excellent way
to redefine many of the issues we have encountered in the last two documents
submitted to standards bodies.
Anyone have direct experience with
Any suggestions about going forward with
issues of ontology management and ontology engineering?
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of ROBERT.GARIGUE@xxxxxxx Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2005 To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: [ontolog-forum] tagging
A bit of a side step
a member of this group I wanted to share an observation about a concurrent activity in an area of ontology development.and
management. In the last little while there has been an incredible amount
of "bottom up" work in the area of practical tagging of text, taxonomy development and ontology creation (called
folksonomies) http://www.adammathes.com/academic/computer-mediated-communication/folksonomies.html . Activities are enabled by a tool call delicious
which permit is in essence Peer to Peer tagging and taxonomy sharing.... to
explain it I prefer sharing the blog written by David Weinberger who does a
good job at writing up the challenge and demonstrating the benefits already
available on certain sites that leverage this communal tagging activity...
my perspective this is very much indication of "chaotic emergence"
quickly moving the web from syntactical to semantical... and positions issues
of large scale ontology engineering and management only a step away..
to the group..
January 14, 2005
tagging revolution continues...
Technorati, a site that indexes 4.5 million weblogs, is now enabling us to
sort blog posts by tag. This is way way cool. In fact, it marks a next step in
the rapid evolution of the tagging economy. [Disclosure:
I am on Technorati's Board of Advisors. But I would have been excited about
The tags come from three sources. First, if
you've uploaded a photo to Flickr and have tagged it (or if one of your pals has tagged
it), it will show up under that tag at technorati. Second, if you've bookmarked
a page using del.icio.us,
it will show up under that tag at technorati. Third, if your blogging software
supports categories, your blog posts will show up under the categories you've
assigned; categories are now tags in the eyes of Technorati.
Even if your blogging software doesn't know
from categories, you can still tag a post with, say, "weasels" by
inserting into it the following line:
It's easy to imagine this becoming a
standard part of the footer of blog entries.
Take a look at this page to see how Technorati aggregates all the blogs, flickr
photos and del.icio.us bookmarks tagged as "humor." This page shows the top
100 or so (I didn't
count) tags in alphabetical order, with font size representing the number of
This is exciting to me not only because it's
useful but because it marks a needed advance in how we get value from tags.
Thanks to del.icio.us and then flickr in particular, hundreds of thousands of
people have been introduced to bottom-up tagging: Just slap a tag on something
and now its value becomes social, not individual. As these tags are added
willy-nilly, two issues arise: We want to get
more value from them and we want to work out the scaling problems — it's
one thing when there are 30 things tagged with "weasels" and another
when there are 300,000. A site like technorati, which already gets its value as
an aggregator, is in a good position to innovate around both issues.
Now for some observations and guesses.
First, categories are not tags. I'm guessing
that the average number of categories used by any single blogger is in the 3-15
range. Many of us want to keep our categories broad because they are intended
to help a reader see all of our posts, and we want to be inclusive rather than
fine-grained. If that's the case, then tags commonly used by categories are not
going to be very useful when aggregated by Technorati. Actually, they might be
useful to researchers but not very useful to casual readers. That's not a
criticism; I'm glad Technorati is treating categories as tags. But I suspect
that the hand-tagged tags are going to turn out to be more useful because we'll
hand-tag them with their aggregation by Technorati in mind. (Bogus Contest: How
many hours before some posts a bookmarklet to ease the hand-tagging of multiple
Second, it will be fascinating to watch the
social effects as people adjust their tag sets in order to get aggregated
either into the most popular tags or to be segmented into smaller groupings.
That is, if you want to be found when people are searching for blogs about America, you will learn to tag it with (say)
"USA" and not
"U.S.A.", "US," or "America." And if you want to
have your posts be found by people searching for posts written by members of
your Dungeons & Dragon's group, your group will make up a tag that no one
else would use. How this sort of stuff occurs at Technorati depends to a large
degree — but not entirely — on how Technorati chooses to enhance
the system. Little changes will have rippling effects.
Third, this represents the externalization
of tagging. That is, Technorati is a broker of tags, not a place where you
create tags. There are other important functions that could be handled externally,
including the creation of thesauruses so that items tagged as "USA" get clustered with ones tagged "America"
and "Etats-Unis." The particular apps where you tag stuff can, of
course, compile their own thesaursi. And, they're likely to be compiled automatically
by noticing the different tags that are applied to the same item. But having a
thesaurus compiled from a superset would help smaller-scale apps cluster tagged
items well and would provide additional useful information to all clustering
apps. Local thesauri are always going to contain the most valuable information,
but info from the aggregated thesaurus can also help. But, there will be social
effects from having external thesauri. I don't know what those effects will be,
but I suspect that they'll be significant since thesauri are about meaning
across groups differentiated by meaning.
Fourth, why can't I subscribe at Technorati
to an RSS feed for a particular tag? [Note:
Dave Sifry tells me that RSS and API
support are coming soon; they wanted to get the release out faster rather than
Fifth, Yay! This is a big day for tagging.
My first technorati tags: Technoratitagstaxonomy
Posted by D. Weinberger at January 14, 2005
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