Search and Tag and Search and Tag…

The example of dominant paradigms in any area going in circles with time is evident in several spheres of lives. Recently, was thinking about this in terms of content organization. In particular the swing between tagging and searching. Tagging appears to be the buzz-phenomenon of these days. There was a time, when search held the same position. Now, come to think of evolution. People find that there are too many things lying around. If they are to be used when needed, they must be organized. So, some kind of manual categorization comes into the picture. Bookmarks, favourites etc. But then number of things, amount of content just goes on increasing. It is not possible to organize them all manually. So, comes the concept of searching. Looks great, but then the realization comes that machines are not yet in a position to substitute human judgement. There comes back the manual categorization. However, taking a slightly different form. “Social Bookmarking” – one person can not do it all, but several people together can do it! And there will be a phase, when even this model will face problems. Why? Since the judgement of one person will not really be relevant to someone else. And a common problem with all community efforts – how to control? How to ensure that no one is maliciously categorizing wrong things at wrong place? A “port site” under the tag “Family”?! What will be the next step then? A search in an improvised form? Most likely. But the other possibility is that the cycle will break altogether and some new thing will come to start a new cycle altogether.


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3 thoughts on “Search and Tag and Search and Tag…

  1. Some immediate thoughts:
    Tagging in a way is clustering, right (the judgement is manual allright)…the usefulness depends on the level at which I stop the cluster analysis. It makes search more efficient, doesn’t it, (like-segments are identified) rather than serving as an alternative (from the pt. of view of search paradigm).

    Well everytime the search efficiency hits a plateau, I need to find further clusters within identified clusters…given the level of current technology it might be more efficient to leave the task of micro-mini level clustering to human judgement for the time being as long as the engines have access to these clusterings.

    Ah, one can of course argue that the final level clusters are individuals…true, but we manage to survive in societies and majority-opinion democracies…so we manage with approximate searches!

  2. The concept of manual or automatic tagging is based on ‘regularization’. The ‘maliciously categorizing’ activity will not be important as long as the web citizens at not corrupt at a whole. It is expected that for a tag to gain popularity it should be tagged by, if not thousands, hundreds of people which will nullify the effects of such misdemeanors.

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