One of the sessions I attended at the Enterprise 2.0 conference yesterday here in Boston was Thomas Vander Wal (the man who coined the term “folksonomy”) talking about how to manage the flood of information that social bookmarking and other forms of tagging can result in.
Here’s his slides via slideshare:
Most of Vander Wal’s focus was on relatively minor improvements which can be made to the user experience (interface and context) of such services which have dramatic impacts on leverage: both in the sense of increasing use and in the sense of making that usage more useful. (Maybe too many words with use at the root there, but I think you get the meaning).
For example, providing what he called “Easy Tagging” which simplifies the choices available to the user, increasingly the likelihood of action.
At slide 35, he begins to get into what I think is the best part – pointing out where the tools are “too simple” – where their feature set isn’t the one most likely to lead to effective use by the most users. Stemming, an awareness of the danger of single tags, recognition of co-occurrence of tags, inline help and context setting, as well as an awareness by the tagging application of the social environment in which the user operates, all can lead to a more effective tagging experience.
I’d love to see an open source implementation take the lead here on implementing Vander Wal’s recommendations. Time to revisit the idea of Scuttle as a Drupal module, ready for deployment in an intranet context, integrated with user info, profile, and taxonomy at some level? Anyone working on this already?