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Collaborative Netweaving
Collaborative Tagging

Collaborative tagging is the practice of allowing any user to freely annotate to content with any kind of tags. In some circumstances, such as the web, where there is no “librarian” to classify items or there are too many items to classify by a single authority, collaborative tagging is one of the most useful ways of categorizing or indexing content. Moreover, tags are directly published and discussed on the web and may be applied to any kinds of items, even people. Collaborative tagging can play a key role in sharing content in social networks.


Collaborative tagging is described as "folksonomy," in contrast with typical "taxonomy," even though there is some debate about the appropriateness of this term. In contrast with taxonomy, tagging performs a horizontal and inclusive way for classification and therefore can have an advantage over hierarchical taxonomy in some cases. In taxonomy, a category with a more general concept includes more specific ones.

Even though a hierarchical category assures a user that all the items exist in one corresponding stable place, the user cannot be sure that all relevant items are returned by a query. To avoid fruitless searching, the user needs to check multiple locations. Unlike a hierarchical search, in a collaborative tagging system such items can be annotated with a variety of terms simultaneously; general tags and specific ones. In addition, tags can filter out all relevant items and return only those items tagged with those tags. As users can provide tags without any intricate implementation, a tagging system can be an effective and easy way to help identify correct items and make search results more relevant. Golder and Huberman have discussed about such advantages over taxonomy as well as the other significant issues of tagging systems.


Marlow et al. define several dimensions of tagging system design according to their possible implications. We will review two of them related to our work briefly. From the user’s right of tagging behavior, a tagging system can be classified into self-tagging, permission-based and free-for-all. Self-tagging, where users only tag the content they created for future personal retrieval, is provided by Technorati (http://www.technorati.com/) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/). Like in Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/), permission-based tagging is provided as specifying different levels of permission to tag.

These two forms of tagging are also mentioned as narrow folksonomies, and strictly speaking, they partially or do not support collaborative tagging. Del.icio.us and Yahoo! MyWeb (http://myweb.yahoo.com/), which provide free-to-all tagging, allow any user to tag any items. Free-to-all tagging is also known as a broad folksonomy. According to the aggregation of tags, a tagging system is divided into a bag-model and a set-model. A set-model does not allow any repetition of tags, and so the system shows users only the “set” of tags attached for the item (e.g., Flickr, YouTube and Technorati).

In contrast with set-model, a bag-model system allows duplicated tags for the same item from different users (e.g., del.icio.us, Yahoo! MyWeb). Based on the statistical information of tag frequencies, the system is able to present the item with the collective opinions of the taggers. Especially in broad folksonomy, a tag frequency of an item tends to lead a long-tail curve (i.e., power law curve or power curve), as the majority of the tags attached to the item are popular or common tags of the item. These popular tags with high frequencies can represent the content of the item.

Above introduction excerpted from Collaborative Tagging and Folksonomy


It's a simple analogy, and it's widely used in the world of business around the subject of teamwork. But for us, looking for a way to build a significant social change movement by convening overlapping facets from many movements and organizations, and addressing the very challenging issue of "wicked problems", the jigsaw puzzle analogy is a good fit.

Nobody has all the pieces, we all need each other to form "the whole", there is a lot of overlap in motivation and vision, and every point of overlap offers a point of affinity and teamwork. We can pull together motivation and insight and skill and capacity, from every direction around the wheel. Tagging could be the basic key we need to get started convening true Oneness from our true Many....


There are many good references on the internet regarding collaborative tagging. These and many others were found quickly searching Google for "collaborative tagging" through their "scholar" category.

Folksonomy / Taxonomy


No one of us can do it all. No one of us is strong enough, or knows enough, or has the skill or capacity.

But everybody is involved, and everybody has a piece of the solution.

We have to work together, constructively, recognizing the unique capacity and insight that each of us brings into the common human experience.

We have to be able to work together even when we disagree on some things. We have to work together - of course - where our motivations are pulling in the same directions. It would be silly and blind not to do this. And where our motivations are pulling in different directions, we have to stay connected, and develop collaborative solutions that recognize everything everybody is saying.

Our challenge: find all the overlapping little pieces in the world - all the sparks of life, all the points of light, all the constructive individuals, all the constructive organizations - and link them together through the common facets they share. We can do this by building a global field of collaborative resonance and understanding, using overlapping tags.

Creating true oneness

Everybody's tags are unique. Everybody is a unique individual. But taken as a whole, there is tremendous common ground among us all. And by following this approach - by using well-organized collaborative tagging - we can find thousands of constructive organizations and millions of constructive people - each of which is unique, each of which is "different" - in some ways.

Taking this approach, enabling every individual and every group to speak for themselves as a unique voice and perspective, we can find each other, and recognize our common ground in one another, and work togther constructively to build a whole world from a million scattered and overlapping little pieces, none of which by itself is enough, and each of which is independent, distinct, and "different" in some ways from everybody else.

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