Monday, September 8, 2008

Quick Bites: Taxonomy Directed Folksonomies

Props to Gwen Harris at Taxonomy Watch for posting a paper by Sarah Hayman and Nick Lothian on Taxonomy Directed Folksonomies.

The paper asks whether folksonomies and formal taxonomy can be used together and answers in the affirmative. The work is in the spirit of some of our recent work at Endeca to bootstrap from vocabularies (though not necessarily controlled vocabularies) to address the inconsistency and sparsity of tagging in folksonomies.

I'm personally excited to see the walls coming down between the two approaches, which many people seem to think of as mutually exclusive approaches to the tagging problem.

4 comments:

David Fauth said...

Daniel,

Daniela Barbosa has an article and an e-book

Daniela writes:
"The taxonomy versus folksonomy issue is not an “either/or” debate, but an opportunity for mutual progress. By combining the virtues of each approach into a working hybrid model, the enterprise can achieve its goal: a user-friendly system that encourages collaboration and makes information easier to find.

and

Good content management tools are not necessarily those with the most features or the greatest power, but those that encourage participation by being easy to use.


dave

jeremy said...

Good content management tools are not necessarily those with the most features or the greatest power, but those that encourage participation by being easy to use.

david: Let me ask you.. what does "ease of use" mean?

I like to think of the example of a stick-shift automobile, versus an automatic.

In one sense, the automatic has a better "ease of use". You just get in, set to drive, and go. You don't have to learn all these complicated things like pushing the clutch, shifting gears, timing the release of the clutch to get back in to gear, etc. If you think about it, a stick-shift automobile has a really poor ease of use.

But then, you can do things with stick that you cannot do very well with automatic. I'm thinking about downshifting and then upshifting when taking a sharp turn really fast. Or about being stuck in the mud or the snow, and being able to play with the clutch to give yourself better momentum, to more easily get unstuck. Or when your battery is dead, because you've left your lights on.. being able to roll downhill, or get pushed by 4 friends, pop the clutch and re-start the engine. Even though you have a dead battery.

So which car has a greater ease of use? The stick-shift or the automatic? Well, day to day, maybe the automatic (although I do turn many corners every single day). But when I really need to get something useful done.. when I am stuck with a dead battery, when I am stuck in the snow, when I'd like to have a lot more control about how I take a corner.. then the stick-shift automobile actually has much greater ease of use. Because when I try to do those same things with an automatic, those things are orders of magnitude more difficult, if not impossible. So the ease of use for an automatic is terrible. The stick-shift is much better.

My point is that "ease of use" really depends on your task. Because sometimes something that appears to be easier, e.g. an information seeking interface with a small, one-line text box that only returns 10 blue links at a time, can actually be much, much more difficult to use, if you need to do the information equivalent of popping the clutch to restart your engine, or getting unstuck from the snow. Know what I mean?

Daniel Tunkelang said...

Jeremy, your point is taken that people often focus on usability at the expense of usefulness. But I give Barbosa the benefit of the doubt and interpret the statement as needing to make it easy for humans to add their input. It's a point I tried to make a few months ago in this post.

David Fauth said...

I tend to agree with Daniel that Daniela is needing to make it easier to tag data for later finding.

Using your analogy, I think we are in the manual transmission era where it is still hard for people to easily tag data in a consistent way for later consumption.

Ideally we would want the hybrid transmission where we suggest tags for people to use and give them an easy way to implement them. If they don't agree with the formal taxonomy, we can allow them to use their own folksonomy. We have tags that we can then use to later find that information.

If they don't implement them, we should have a way to apply some metadata tags to the data for later consumption.

I'm wading into this so I appreciate the dialog.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Quick Bites: Taxonomy Directed Folksonomies

Props to Gwen Harris at Taxonomy Watch for posting a paper by Sarah Hayman and Nick Lothian on Taxonomy Directed Folksonomies.

The paper asks whether folksonomies and formal taxonomy can be used together and answers in the affirmative. The work is in the spirit of some of our recent work at Endeca to bootstrap from vocabularies (though not necessarily controlled vocabularies) to address the inconsistency and sparsity of tagging in folksonomies.

I'm personally excited to see the walls coming down between the two approaches, which many people seem to think of as mutually exclusive approaches to the tagging problem.

4 comments:

David Fauth said...

Daniel,

Daniela Barbosa has an article and an e-book

Daniela writes:
"The taxonomy versus folksonomy issue is not an “either/or” debate, but an opportunity for mutual progress. By combining the virtues of each approach into a working hybrid model, the enterprise can achieve its goal: a user-friendly system that encourages collaboration and makes information easier to find.

and

Good content management tools are not necessarily those with the most features or the greatest power, but those that encourage participation by being easy to use.


dave

jeremy said...

Good content management tools are not necessarily those with the most features or the greatest power, but those that encourage participation by being easy to use.

david: Let me ask you.. what does "ease of use" mean?

I like to think of the example of a stick-shift automobile, versus an automatic.

In one sense, the automatic has a better "ease of use". You just get in, set to drive, and go. You don't have to learn all these complicated things like pushing the clutch, shifting gears, timing the release of the clutch to get back in to gear, etc. If you think about it, a stick-shift automobile has a really poor ease of use.

But then, you can do things with stick that you cannot do very well with automatic. I'm thinking about downshifting and then upshifting when taking a sharp turn really fast. Or about being stuck in the mud or the snow, and being able to play with the clutch to give yourself better momentum, to more easily get unstuck. Or when your battery is dead, because you've left your lights on.. being able to roll downhill, or get pushed by 4 friends, pop the clutch and re-start the engine. Even though you have a dead battery.

So which car has a greater ease of use? The stick-shift or the automatic? Well, day to day, maybe the automatic (although I do turn many corners every single day). But when I really need to get something useful done.. when I am stuck with a dead battery, when I am stuck in the snow, when I'd like to have a lot more control about how I take a corner.. then the stick-shift automobile actually has much greater ease of use. Because when I try to do those same things with an automatic, those things are orders of magnitude more difficult, if not impossible. So the ease of use for an automatic is terrible. The stick-shift is much better.

My point is that "ease of use" really depends on your task. Because sometimes something that appears to be easier, e.g. an information seeking interface with a small, one-line text box that only returns 10 blue links at a time, can actually be much, much more difficult to use, if you need to do the information equivalent of popping the clutch to restart your engine, or getting unstuck from the snow. Know what I mean?

Daniel Tunkelang said...

Jeremy, your point is taken that people often focus on usability at the expense of usefulness. But I give Barbosa the benefit of the doubt and interpret the statement as needing to make it easy for humans to add their input. It's a point I tried to make a few months ago in this post.

David Fauth said...

I tend to agree with Daniel that Daniela is needing to make it easier to tag data for later finding.

Using your analogy, I think we are in the manual transmission era where it is still hard for people to easily tag data in a consistent way for later consumption.

Ideally we would want the hybrid transmission where we suggest tags for people to use and give them an easy way to implement them. If they don't agree with the formal taxonomy, we can allow them to use their own folksonomy. We have tags that we can then use to later find that information.

If they don't implement them, we should have a way to apply some metadata tags to the data for later consumption.

I'm wading into this so I appreciate the dialog.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Quick Bites: Taxonomy Directed Folksonomies

Props to Gwen Harris at Taxonomy Watch for posting a paper by Sarah Hayman and Nick Lothian on Taxonomy Directed Folksonomies.

The paper asks whether folksonomies and formal taxonomy can be used together and answers in the affirmative. The work is in the spirit of some of our recent work at Endeca to bootstrap from vocabularies (though not necessarily controlled vocabularies) to address the inconsistency and sparsity of tagging in folksonomies.

I'm personally excited to see the walls coming down between the two approaches, which many people seem to think of as mutually exclusive approaches to the tagging problem.

4 comments:

David Fauth said...

Daniel,

Daniela Barbosa has an article and an e-book

Daniela writes:
"The taxonomy versus folksonomy issue is not an “either/or” debate, but an opportunity for mutual progress. By combining the virtues of each approach into a working hybrid model, the enterprise can achieve its goal: a user-friendly system that encourages collaboration and makes information easier to find.

and

Good content management tools are not necessarily those with the most features or the greatest power, but those that encourage participation by being easy to use.


dave

jeremy said...

Good content management tools are not necessarily those with the most features or the greatest power, but those that encourage participation by being easy to use.

david: Let me ask you.. what does "ease of use" mean?

I like to think of the example of a stick-shift automobile, versus an automatic.

In one sense, the automatic has a better "ease of use". You just get in, set to drive, and go. You don't have to learn all these complicated things like pushing the clutch, shifting gears, timing the release of the clutch to get back in to gear, etc. If you think about it, a stick-shift automobile has a really poor ease of use.

But then, you can do things with stick that you cannot do very well with automatic. I'm thinking about downshifting and then upshifting when taking a sharp turn really fast. Or about being stuck in the mud or the snow, and being able to play with the clutch to give yourself better momentum, to more easily get unstuck. Or when your battery is dead, because you've left your lights on.. being able to roll downhill, or get pushed by 4 friends, pop the clutch and re-start the engine. Even though you have a dead battery.

So which car has a greater ease of use? The stick-shift or the automatic? Well, day to day, maybe the automatic (although I do turn many corners every single day). But when I really need to get something useful done.. when I am stuck with a dead battery, when I am stuck in the snow, when I'd like to have a lot more control about how I take a corner.. then the stick-shift automobile actually has much greater ease of use. Because when I try to do those same things with an automatic, those things are orders of magnitude more difficult, if not impossible. So the ease of use for an automatic is terrible. The stick-shift is much better.

My point is that "ease of use" really depends on your task. Because sometimes something that appears to be easier, e.g. an information seeking interface with a small, one-line text box that only returns 10 blue links at a time, can actually be much, much more difficult to use, if you need to do the information equivalent of popping the clutch to restart your engine, or getting unstuck from the snow. Know what I mean?

Daniel Tunkelang said...

Jeremy, your point is taken that people often focus on usability at the expense of usefulness. But I give Barbosa the benefit of the doubt and interpret the statement as needing to make it easy for humans to add their input. It's a point I tried to make a few months ago in this post.

David Fauth said...

I tend to agree with Daniel that Daniela is needing to make it easier to tag data for later finding.

Using your analogy, I think we are in the manual transmission era where it is still hard for people to easily tag data in a consistent way for later consumption.

Ideally we would want the hybrid transmission where we suggest tags for people to use and give them an easy way to implement them. If they don't agree with the formal taxonomy, we can allow them to use their own folksonomy. We have tags that we can then use to later find that information.

If they don't implement them, we should have a way to apply some metadata tags to the data for later consumption.

I'm wading into this so I appreciate the dialog.