Alex Wright

Folksonomic zeitgeist

February 28, 2005

The Observer is playing around with folksonomies, asking all of their contributors to classify their articles using free-form keywords, then exposing the emerging folksonomy via the newspaper's blog.

What's interesting here is the attempt to marry a top-down hierarchy (newspaper sections) with a bottom-up namespace (writer-generated keywords) to create a new way of interacting with the contents of the paper.

It's an intriguing start, but for this to really fly I think they need to expand the vision a bit further. Here's what I would like to see:

  • The ability for readers to tag articles (what makes so interesting)
  • The ability to map the Observer's contents to the larger Web, especially other newspapers (a la Google News)
  • A catchier name. "Folksonomic zeitgeist" is too cute by half, and must come across as hopeless geekspeak to the average reader
Still, it's a nifty experiment that seems to suggest folksonomies may be gaining traction beyond the devoted nerd-space of and Flickr.

(via kottke)

File under: Semantic Web

« David Rome | Kauai »


Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages

Mastering Information Through the Ages

New Paperback Edition

“A penetrating and highly entertaining meditation on the information age and its historical roots.”
—Los Angeles Times     

Buy from