Bookmarking, Tagging and Folksonomies
This week, we discussed the advantages of bookmarking, tagging and folksonomies. To clear up the web jargon, bookmarking is a process that saves websites for future use (sometimes the terms ‘shortcuts’ or ‘favourites’ are used to denote the same function in different web browsers). Tagging is “the process of adding free-text descriptors to online objects” and folksonomies are the compilations of tags associated with a particular website (Rasmussen, 2013). In order to explore these concepts further, I examined the LibraryThing, Oakville Public Library and Delicious websites.
I’ve used LibraryThing a few times in the past, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever become a regular user of the website while Goodreads is still around. A major difference between the two sites is the way tags are displayed. On LibraryThing, quite varied tags are used; users tag standard information like authors and genres, but popular tags also identify when users read a book, and whether they own a paperback or hardcopy edition of the book. For example, in the image above, A Game of Thrones is tagged on LibraryThing with several useful tags like “A Song of Ice and Fire” and “fantasy” (the popularity of these tags can be identified by the size of these words within a ‘tag cloud’). However, many other tags are displayed within the tag cloud that aren’t of much use to me, like “Kindle”, “own”, “read in 2011” and “signed”.
Meanwhile, Goodreads pages are organized in a more aesthetically pleasing manner (in my humble opinion, of course!). On a book’s page, the genres that users have “shelved” the book under are featured. For further information, users can “See Top Shelves” to view the varied tags/shelves under which users have categorized a book. This way, less pertinent tags like “own it” or “on hold” do not appear on a book’s homepage. In my experience with both sites, I prefer my orderly ‘shelves’ on Goodreads to my tags on LibraryThing, although both sites are very appealing from a book lover’s perspective!
This being said, I was very impressed with how libraries can use LibraryThing, like this example of Martindale Public Library. Particularly, the virtual shelf browser is a tool that I would love to use while browsing TPL. I searched TPL on LibraryThing and found pages for branches with location and contact information, although none of the branch pages seemed to be frequented or updated very often. Since the TPL website doesn’t offer any opportunities for user interactivity, I thought that creating a page on LibraryThing, or perhaps having LibraryThing mashups on the TPL site might be an interested endeavour.
Unlike TPL, the Oakville Public Library website features many opportunities for user interactivity. Keeping on theme, I searched A Game of Thrones and found that a considerable amount of ‘community activity’ had occurred on the book’s webpage. Users had posted tags, similar titles, related videos, lists that include the title, comments, quotes and summaries of the book! Most of these features seem to be being used effectively, although the lonely 2 summaries of the book did make me laugh aloud:
Other than the summaries that left something to be desired, OPL seems to be doing a fantastic good getting the community to actively engage with the library’s website. I’d love to see more features like this on the LPL and TPL pages in the future!
Lastly, I also explored the Delicious website. This website may have particular appeal to users who use different computers in their everyday lives. I often find myself somewhat lost when I’m without my laptop, and the main reason behind this is that when I use the computer at work or at school, my handy bookmarks are nowhere to be found! I perused this site for a little while, searching various tags, networks and links of interest. Keeping on theme, I spent a while finding Game of Thrones related links (can you tell I’m excited about the season 3 premiere!?). Overall, I found that the website was not particularly user-friendly and, for this reason, I’m not sure if I would recommend it to others. However, I did find quite a few neat links to keep me busy!