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My adventures in graduate school for library science

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Job of Organizing

Organizing books and materials used to be in the domain of professionally trained catalogers and indexers. Now, through Web 2.0, it is in the hands of everyday "folk." What are the implications of this trend for librarians? Also, for additional food for thought, go to your Delicious site and examine your list of tags. In your opinion, are these tags more or less helpful than traditional subject headings?

There are several implications of the trend of everyday people being able to organize books and materials. The first that comes to mind is the user-based tag systems of websites. People can wrongfully tag or organize a topic. This would cause a bug in the system of tagging and cause the retrieval of unwanted items. People have to be cautious of how they organize their books and materials and also be aware of how patrons typically retrieve information. If someone were to organize information using plurals or slang, it may cause difficulty for others to discover their desired information.

Some people have their own system to organizing their books and materials, and sometimes will over categorize topics. These types of systems are often inconsistent, and cause difficulties for patrons unfamiliar with the system. This would force the patron to search with specific terms to get the desired information. People also use various terms when organizing, from the basic to more narrow. These terms can cause a vague output of information for the patron. There is also the implication of dishonest people corrupting the system by disorganizing user-based tag systems.

When viewing my del.icio.us site and taking a closer look at my tags, I think that they are more helpful than traditional subject headings. It takes more time to sort through various subject headings rather than clicking on a tag. If searching for information using the tag feature I have many resources to choose from. Although I may have to sift through many resources, I believe the benefits of having these resources readily available outweighs the disadvantages. The user-based tagging system enables the user to get more detailed or vague in their search.

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