[OPEN-ILS-GENERAL] Feature inquiry

Stuart Miller stuartwm at uchicago.edu
Mon Oct 6 17:32:35 EDT 2008


I certainly don't object to making tagging optional, but I think it really is something that every library should offer.

I agree that tagging can be quite messy and inevitably leads to situations such as you describe. But after all, you DID find the product with just the one term, so does it matter that others added many variants?

I agree that using controlled vocabulary schemes can sometimes be more efficient, but I think we see tagging as a boon for any group with a shared interest, especially when LCSH doesn't really cut it.

And students appear to ENJOY this capability--and probably assign tags that are more easily recognizable among their peers than some of the rather bizarre and sometimes woefully outdated LC headings. And, judging from the subject cataloging I've seen in our large database, I'm not sure that librarians can lay any special claim to consistency or scientific rigor when assigning subject headings. I think any group--academically inclined or otherwise--has its own informal lingo that is well served by tagging.

Sorry, not really directly relevant to Evergreen development!

Stuart Miller

-----Original Message-----
From: open-ils-general-bounces at list.georgialibraries.org [mailto:open-ils-general-bounces at list.georgialibraries.org] On Behalf Of Deanna Frazee
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 3:57 PM
To: Evergreen Discussion Group
Subject: RE: [OPEN-ILS-GENERAL] Feature inquiry

> And while you're asking, what about tagging? I think it's fair to say
> Web 2.0 features are expected these days--and not just by the younger
> users. We need to keep library user interfaces more up-to-date more
> quickly than has been the case in the past. E.g., most database
> had citation export features LONG before we got it into the old OPACs.

I partially agree with Stuart, yet I think tagging is highly over-rated
since it allows for so much randomness as to be useless in many cases.
In particular, I think we give up too much when we bow to having
uncontrolled headings.  For example, in a recent search to replace my
vacuum cleaner, I discovered a product on Amazon.com with the following
tags:  vacuum, vacuums, vacuum cleaner, vacuum cleaners, great and a
variety of misspellings of "vacuum".

Starting with the obvious "great" is not a useful tag unless you are
putting it on your own book list to remind you which books were most
enjoyable.  Beyond that, we have a situation that begs for a nice spell
checker and suggestions for what the person really meant.

Yes, the ability to tag should be there.  But make it a feature that can
be turned off by those of us who do not want it.

Deanna Frazee
Killeen City Library System

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