Pro metadata will lose to folksonomy

Via Boing Boing, Clay Shirky comments with a comparison of the advantages of folksonomies vs. “controlled vocabularies”. Key points I take from him:

  • Controlled vocabularies are not extensible to the majority of cases where tagging is needed. folksonomies are better than nothing.
  • users pollute controlled vocabularies, by misapplying the words, or stretching them to uses never imagined, or sticking eveything in other.
  • Building, maintaining, and enforcing a controlled vocabulary is, relative to folksonomies, enormously expensive.

Richard Cyganiak thinks its the Semantic Web or Folksonomy : “A bunch of sloppily assigned tags will not be useful for inferencing”, but I wonder (hope?) if folksonomies might allow for the emergence of a Semantic Web light, as per August 2009: How Google beat Amazon and Ebay to the Semantic Web. Pity that disallows Google with a strict robots.txt policy.

Read trackback’s, comments and Use Technorati (an indexing site of blogs) against the Boing Boing and Clay Shirky links to expose more commentary on the blogosphere.

Update: the cross post of this on delicious-discuss List has generated someback: the no robots.txt is in place to avoid page rank spamming and save sever load; Joshua Schachter and Clay Shirky are debaiting “what is the semantic web”. 4 rounds no knockouts yet.


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