Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Spiders and future-proofing your cloud. Tagging# Thing 8

I guess my approach to tagging is embarassing for a librarian; it's haphazzard, willy-nilly, erratic and exessive. Like those caffeine drugged spiders , I tend not to have any structure to my tagging web. It's about how I feel on the day, on the minute, on the second, and more importantly, how I think I will feel in the future...

Wordle: my Delicious tagsI get scared you see, of not being able to find anything again. How do I stop the cloud eating up all my data and dispersing it as rain somewhere I can't find it? My answer is, tags, tags and more tags.  And, so far it has worked. My Delicious account has a ma-hou-sive tag cloud,  BUT,  I can find stuff.  For example, anything to do with images is tagged under: 'photo' 'image' 'picture' 'jpeg' etc., etc. Whatever my brain decides to search under, it is likely to find what it's looking for first time round.

When I find a site I like, I usually put it away away for later perusal. Whether this is in a bookmark, in Delicious, or in an email folder. Any which way, I have to tag it so you can find it again. When you get that niggle in the back of your brain that says 'hang on a minute', I've seen that somewhere before. That niggle could be 2 weeks down the line, or 2 months down the line, or 2 YEARS down the line. How do you know what you are going to type into the search box 2 years later about your vague niggle. You're darned tooting it won't be what you tagged it 2 years ago when  you felt different, acted different, were different...
So, I see tagging as trying to 'future-proof' your cloud, if that is at all possible. The more options you give yourself,  your future self, and your other selves, the better. The more chance you have of finding things again.

That said, I will introduce a bit of structure to this post by offering up Marsh's list of twitter tag types. In my observences over the last few months I've noticed that twitter tags fall into a certain number of categories depending on the aims of the tagger:
  1. #the humourous tag - the one where you add humour to an otherwise embarrassing situation, #oopsImeantputnotpus. No use for information gathering and recall but gets you out of a tight spot.
  2. #the conference tag -  Comment on the speakers/organisation/food & drink and see what other people really think, in real time. Let those who couldn't come know what's going on. Can act as a useful minute taking method #ala10 #libatcam11??
  3. # reference tag - pure bog-standard reference. I want to be able to find this later or for other people to easily find it too.
  4. #The bot tag - I want to see if a web bot picks me up on my desire to buy a #digitalSLR and offers me a good deal (!)
  5. #the trendy tag - I want to appear in a trending topic, I do, Ido, #WayneRooneyCantPlayFootballForToffee
  6. #the small conversation tag - so you can follow a group conversation more easily #drinksonthursdayanyone ?
  7. #the Face tag on Twitpic - a la Facebook, tag a face, any face....
There must be more types of twitter tag. Can you think of any?


  1. Hoorah - someone after my own heart! I salute your relaxed approach to tagging - it seems eminently sensible to me.

  2. Welcome fellow spider-web tagger!