Rethink the way you classify content: enhance your intranet or document platform through the implementation of folksonomy.


Is your company´s Intranet or document platform giving you trouble? Why is some content easier to find than others? Have you invested in a powerful search engine but not getting the desired user satisfaction? What would you have to say if they way you have been classifying content is lacking a vital component? Keep reading in order to find out how folksonomy has revolutionized with social media and is helping information retrieval and taxonomy.

Over the years web information recovery has been facilitated by something called “folksonomy”. For those unaware of the origins of that specific term, it all began with the proliferation of web 2.0 which gave people the chance to co-create content and break away from the passive form of earlier web content viewing.

One way of doing it is through the development of folksonomies.  It can be defined as a co-created and never ending classification system which facilitates information recovery in cyberspace.

For example, John writes an interesting news piece regarding modern art and uploads it on his personal blog. He uses specific tags to describe the content and this will allow search engines to spot it better.  As users begin to visit his blog, they begin to add their own tags based on their interpretation of content. This adds value to John´s blog as search engines use this metadata in order to retrieve content.

Even though some sites do not allow users to directly add tags this does not mean that the content will not become “folksonimized”. The way we share content and link it to the source of origin is also considered a form of folksonomy. In this sense even a simple retweet can become a powerful way of conveying folksonomy.  

For example let´s take a look at the following retweet:


I had originally shared the content using the hashtag #kmers. @WSNKMPE later shared it and added two more hashtags: #KM and #collaboration.

This is a great example of folksonomy and how it has advanced with social media. Folksonomy has not only become a way to link people to content, but also people to people. A simple tweet mention which becomes popularized makes the owner part of a trending topic and this gives him greater visibility in comparison to other users.

In fact we can also use folksonomy in order to enhance search engine visibility anytime we create and share content. For example, we can use google adwords in order to study keyword trends. In simple terms, this means we can see how people are searching for specific information and use those words in order to classify our own content. I describe this practice as “folksonomizing content”: it is the way we cultivate popular terminology in order to facilitate information retrieval and develop dynamic taxonomies.

In fact at my earlier job we implemented this practice in order to classify content registered in the knowledge management portal.

We must also take a close look at additional tags which people add to content, comments, hashtags and just about anything which we can use in order to analyze how people are interpreting what we share.

Folksonomy is giving rise to a new form of classifying content. We are now shifting from passive cataloguing to proactive “user-based” cataloguing/classification. The first, takes into consideration metadata found in the information piece. The second looks at metadata found in the information piece and enhances it with folksonomy.

In the age of social media, folksonomy is the new taxonomy.  

©Jose Carlos Tenorio Favero

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One response to “Rethink the way you classify content: enhance your intranet or document platform through the implementation of folksonomy.

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