Collections tags / the Power House

Thought you might be interested in a different view of the Power House collections website. In the V&A meeting we took a baffled? or just not convinced? look at the user generated tags to its collections database. Students (c. 20)  in my Museums & Digitisation course reviewed the site as 1 of 8 for authority, usability, interest, other characteristics. The PH came top with 19/20 votes for “I think this site is used a lot”. They liked the tags (no prompting!) not because they offered a structured way into the collections, but because they generated curiosity and interest – what is it that that other person is interested in – what can that peculiar thing be? It’s like ‘other people are searching for …’ so the function of the tags is completely different, they truly socialise the collection. Another well known example of folksonomy (must be loads now) is the San Francisco Art Museum where their docents produced new categorization terms, a ‘word soup’. But these are to make for better indexing and searching, so they are essentially towards a better categorization system, not truly social software.

Thanks for an enjoyable and stimulating meeting Frances,

Suzanne

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