Sunday, April 17, 2005
Tagging in the genres
Assuming I get a job for next school year, there are about 4 months for someone to start something like this for teachers. It will come, I'm sure. I just don't know when. It may already be out there.

Connotea is a social bookmarking service for scientists. Its been around since January, but it was featured in an article in D-Lib Magazine so maybe it will gain notice. (There is another article about social bookmarking tools in general with a few great diagrams. Have to read that later! One diagram looks at bookmarking tools for general and scholarly audiences. The general audiences have many more tools than the scholarly but I think that will change.) In Connotea, the problems of multiple vocabularies for the same item are minimized because in one field, people have a similar vocabulary. Some of the most popular tags are "human evolution" and "avian flu". There will still be issues, but if it catches on, I'm sure it will be very useful to scientists. One interesting thing that the article said is that when a book is mentioned, the bibliographic information will automatically be added.
In the spirit of making it quick and easy to use, Connotea attempts to find and import the bibliographic information for any article or book that is added. In many cases, this information is freely available on the web, so why should a user have to retype it? There is also, of course, the benefit of eliminating typing errors. Along with the use of bookmarklets (see below), automatically adding the bibliographic information reduces the workload of saving a reference to two clicks and a small amount of typing for tag names.
And the future teacher one will be very useful too. Imagine having a tag saying TKAM or ToKillAMockingbird and linking to many lesson plans, articles, and other things that teachers are using with their unit on To Kill a Mockingbird. I think it would have to have notes like does so that a teacher could explain how he or she was using a random looking article or website in conjunciton with the unit.

Of course, there are also advantages to having all of the information tagged in one place. or or somewhere. It is not too convenient to go looking in 7 different social network places for one thing, or to have to tag something in 7 different places, perhaps with 7 different specificities of tags. But there are also advantages to seeing what the scientists or teachers or lawyers are saying about a certain thing. Also interesting to do some sort of study on how they look at tags differently. I'm predicting these specific ones will start popping up. I wonder how many will still be around and popular in several years.

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