Monday, February 07, 2005

The Future is (Almost) Now?

Just the other day, while dreaming of folksonomies, I imagined this happy synthesis of social and expert tagging:
When I pay visits to sites, bottom-up and top-down meet. User tags guided me to the sites, but once there a skillfully-created information architecture helps me find what I'm seeking.
While we're not yet at the place where the innate wisdom of users blends seamlessly with the work of trained professionals, it may be closer than we think. In a terrific post today, Lou Rosenfeld—who knows a hell of a lot more than I do about such things—looks in a similar direction:
[I]it's exciting to consider how these two approaches might fit together and function as a whole. Neither works especially well on its own: controlled vocabularies often miss out on input from content authors and become rigid, stale, and distant from the vernacular of users; folksonomies will begin to break down... Treating them as major parts of a single metadata ecology might expose a useful symbiosis: encourage authors and users to generate folksonomies, and use those terms as candidates for inclusion in richer, more current controlled vocabularies that can evolve to best support findability.
Be still, my beating heart!

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