9 thoughts on “Folksonomies, Taxonomies and Coexistence”

  1. Nicely put.

    It seems to me that the real distinction isn’t between taxonomies and folksonomies. It’s between having to choose one way of ordering a domain or supporting as many as people find helpful. When we can leave things as “miscellaneous” and layer an indefinite number of orders on top of them, there’s plenty of room for multiple taxonomies and multiple folksonomies.

  2. I still think that the main problem that most people have with folksonomies (and I mean the people that don’t really care about the philosophical issues of taxonomies vs. folksonomies) is the various problems that everyone outlines in regards to the folksonomies implementation.

    It’s the spelling, it’s plural vs. singular, it’s the separator between tags (space delimited or command delimited) and it’s the way multi words tags are being handled (space delimited implementations usually cannot handle multi words tags and if they do you need to wrap the term with double quotes).

    Something needs to be done on this front in order to dismiss the various claims that make folksonomies very messy.

  3. Eran,

    This is an interesting post, that helped me discover Elaine’s post. My 2 cents on that item will rely on some kind of mathematical framework. In french, it is called the theorem of the incomplete basis (theoreme de la base incomplete). It says that in a finite dimension vector space, all independant vector family can be completed to become a base, and all family of generative vectors family can be reduced to a basis.

    Taxonomies belong to the independant vector family classes. Folksonomies belong to eh generative vectors family. The good choice is in betwwen. Folksonomies are usually too rich, they need to be reduced to a shorter family, whereas taxonomies often lack the right item to classify and need to be enriched.

    Sorry for the unclearness of the answer, but this really is what it made me think of. As the manager of a large scale enterprise blogging tool (SMARTKIWI), I have implemented both, and must say that none of them is the nirvana.

  4. Hello Herve!

    Thanks for the comment.
    To some extent you are correct, not only folksonomies or only taxonomies is the way to go.

    But that’s how life is. Seldom you will find things that fits 100% and therefore a compromise must be taken between the easy of use of folksonomies to the structured richness of taxonomies.

    That is why I asked in the blog what is the purpose and that is the main issue that needs to stand out when deciding on which of the X-onomies (Where X = Folks or X = tax ;-) ) to use.

    I have a post I’m working on that might help clear things up a bit and, hopefully, will help other implementations benefits from the experience we have gathered at Yedda.

  5. Nice article, I Must say I think folksonomies are a great user tool.
    Flexible tagging and search offer fantastic userability improvements.

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