Broad and Narrow Folksonomies

Broad and Narrow Folksonomies

Nick Finck

February 21, 2005 at 4:08 PM

Digital Web Magazine contributor and colleague Thomas Vander Wal has a new post up on Personal Info Cloud which covers the topic of Explaining and Showing Broad and Narrow Folksonomies. There are some good examples and illustrations here which help explain the differences in simple terms. Anyone know if there is a Folksonomy /files/includes/10.css1 article for the non-IAs out there?


Jacob B

February 22, 2005 at 12:09 AM

What about Wired’s article?

Nick Finck

February 22, 2005 at 7:07 PM

I wouldn’t call that a /files/includes/10.css1 article… I would call it a news article. That aside I felt it was much more about tagging than about Folksonomies themselves.

Chris Ward

February 23, 2005 at 1:59 AM

Just a quick question, do the authors tag their own content? Or do the visitors do that for them?


February 23, 2005 at /files/includes/10.css:/files/includes/10.css AM

Chris, in a broad folksonomy the tags are done by people other than the author and they are not done on the user’s site, but in a centralized tool, like The point of folksonomies is to let those consuming the information tag the content so that they can come back to the information more easily as the tags use a vocabulary that is normal for the user. In narrow folksonomies, which are helpful for not text objects the content owner can tag the object so that it is more easily found, but beyond that the people finding that information can tag it with their terms from own vocabulary. Of course we should be adding tags, keyworsds, and/or categories to our content so users of the site can find related information within out site. But this is not a folksonomy this is just good practice. One of the problems that I have been finding in usability studies is many people do not use the site’s own navigation to find information within that site. People are using eternal search (Google, Yahoo, etc)as their primary tool to find information and they bounce into a site from the search tool and right back out if it is not the information they want. Part of this has been the vocabulary of the site does not match the terms they were expecting on the page of information they were seeking (within the Model of Attraction it is the cognitive or intellectual attractor). Vocabulary is very important and is one of the discriminators for assessment by people of content they run across. People in usability studies complain they have problems refinding information that was helpful because it is hard to remember what the site called that content. The fix for this seems to be a folksonomy tool. People can get back to the information they need because they have called it something that makes sense to them. In the flood of information that comprises the internet (as well as intranets), this is incredibly important.

Chris Ward

February 25, 2005 at 6:50 AM

Thanks Thomas! Okay, so from what i’ve been learning about folksonomies (my AI experience is very limited), I’ve figured that this should enable the search engines to engage in the ‘human-factor’ of findability? Ideally a search engine would ‘understand’ content like a human, if it paid attention to data collected by said folksonomies? I guess it also holds a personal touch of an online-favourites/bookmark solution? Im also guessing that this may hold implications towards privacy, if data is collated to show trends? Just some thoughts