Friday, December 10, 2004
Bottom Up Tagging
Playing with Taxonomies "I spoke with Stewart Butterfield of Ludicorp, developer of Flickr, about this effort. (Latin scholars note: The Ludi in "Ludicorp" suggests the Latin words for play and game.) Stewart had many insights about this new approach to building taxonomies. "If you can hire enough excellent librarians, you will get better keyword results than with social approaches. However, as the content grows, tagging (and retagging) becomes an order of magnitude more difficult. In other words, social approaches are 80% as good as and 10 times easier than top-down approaches." As to whether Flickr's approach would work in the button-down corporate world, Butterfield had this to say: "Anticipate resistance in the CIO crowd who don't want to risk losing control in a social self-correcting process and do not want anything to get lost." Butterfield says that at least 55% of photos uploaded to Flickr have one or more tags, and 66% have both a tag and user-supplied metadata. As of early September, Flickr had 500,000 photos on its site and was growing at the rate of 15,000 to 20,000 more each day."