Monday, January 10, 2005


Won't the library world be thrilled with the newish designation of "folksonomy" being bandied about on the internet? This is presumably taken to mean a taxonomy for the people, which is further taken to mean that the formerly archaisch undertaking of designing a classification scheme is being stolen from that dying breed known as the classificationists, having been adopted by metadata punks who have stumbled upon an at once utilitarian and complex practice older than Ranganathan himself.

From what I can gather, a folksonomy seems to be a faceted classification scheme that puts regular folks in charge of assigning keywords to describe web-based materials. Here you have a gazillion different users putting forth their two cents on the aboutness of a particular website. How is it kept all in check? Or doesn't it have to be kept in check when considering a nearly infinite domain like the internet? Whatever the case may be, the obscure world of classification theory has been infiltrated by outsiders. But the stronghold has not yet been completely compromised, as proven by a quick search through the pertinent library indexes: 'folksonom*' returned zero hits [searches on Proquest and Web of Science returned the same results]. I suspect that this brand of 'classification theory lite' will have to prove itself first.

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