Folksonomies

Pito Salas has some interesting notepad noodling on taxonomies, folksonomies, etc., including a mapping of some familiar implementations of *onomies (del.icio.us, yahoo!, flickr, file system folders, etc.) into a two-dimensional grid with x axis := {for my own benefit, for other people’s benefit} and y axis := {my own stuff, other people’s stuff}.

In other words, the axes are audience and origin of artifacts (photos, blog posts, etc.), which is an interesting way to look at the practical side of information sharing (check out Pito’s drawing,/a>, and it reminded me of the apparent crisis of purpose (or crisis of application?) in the social software space, where the crucial question seems to be “why bother to share?”

Folksonomies have almost nothing in common with taxonomies, both from a graph theoretic point of view and a practical point of view. That’s a good start for folksonomies, but although experiments like furl, del.icio.us and flickr have been running for a while, it’s not clear that the folksonomy is a compelling ingredient in each case, or even whether its value grows indefinitely with the volume of contributions or whether there’s a point of diminishing returns in some of the variables. Still, I’ll take it over a taxonomy every day. Oh, and I love the word folksonomy. Let’s see if I can get into this post one more time …

Additional reading: Wikipedia entry Folksonomy has external links to some good reading on the subject.

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