Josh Petrusa and Meredith Farkas


Web 1.0: democratized access to information
Web 2.0: democratized participation

User-generated content: comments, ratings, tags, audio/video, blog posts, photos, etc.


  • we don’t know everything
  • insufficient metadata
  • findability and refindability
  • stories people tell about items are of value
  • interaction w/ materials creates a more personal connection
  • people are already doing it – take advantage of behaviors that people are already using


  • user-created descriptive metadata
  • folksonomy – system of organizing through tagging
  • many ways to describe (how will people search?)
  • the more agreement in the tag, the more useful in searching

Why tags?

  • lets people make sense of content using their own vocabulary
  • helps people re-find their own content
  • helps people find new content
  • good solution for content that can’t be formally cataloged

Why not?

  • no control
  • people can use plural or singular words, dashes, underscores, etc.
  • multiple terms to describe a single concept
  • no disambiguation
  • people tag selfishly
  • people tag incorrectly

Improving tagging


Examples of user-generated content:


  • moderation
  • technology issues – how to make it happen
  • differentiating between user content and institutional content
  • make it easy and appealing to contribute
  • let people do what they want with their content (export, RSS, etc.)
  • if you build it, will they come? evaluate your user population

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