Implementation Decisions for Social Tagging in Library Catalogs

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2012


As social tagging becomes more prominent, there is a greater push toward incorporating user-supplied data in library catalogs. In this globally-minded, technology-driven atmosphere, regional differences in attitudes, needs and tastes of users are often overlooked. When libraries consider the cost and time allowances necessary for either importing purchased tags into catalogs or opening tag usage in catalogs to users, there are two areas in particular worthy of study. What differences, if any, exist between globally-supplied tags and locally-added tags and how will this affect the utility of user-supplied data in library catalogs? If given the opportunity, how likely are local users to create tags? In order to determine the answers to these questions, the author intends to compare a list of ten popular titles across libraries allowing local user tagging and sites with internationally contributed data. Tags provided for titles on LibraryThing and will be compared to tags added locally, by users in three public libraries. Differences between local and global tags will be noted, including inaccurate tags, superfluous tags, or a lack of tags. These results will aid library decisions concerning the implementation of open-tagging or purchased, imported tag sets.

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