Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Everything is miscellaneous – Tagging vs. Categories

I just listened to Phil Windley's inverview with David Weinberger on Technometria (via IT conversations).
I sum up David's thoughts (expressed in this interview) in my words:

„Miscellaneous“ is a container or category, but not a tag.

Meaning: if you really need to categorize things, i.e. you have to stuff them into a physical or virtual container, you sooner or later end up with a „Miscellaneous“ category (drower, folder, ...). That's because, if things need a container (...) you have to invent one for things that don't match your other containers. Check your kitchen or basement for proof.

Tags (as used by Google, Flickr, del.icio.us, ...) are not containers as such. They don't hold anything. Things can be tag-free (maybe they shouldn't, but they can). So there is no need for a „misc.“ tag.

Do never create a „Miscellaneous“ tag. It does not make sense.

Quite interesting (at the end of the interview) are David's and Phil's thoughs on egoistic (my word) and altruistic (their word) tagging, i.e. if you tag only for yourself (the early days of del.icio.us according to David) you will and should pick other tags than when you tag for others as well („ social“ tagging).

Listen in.

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