Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thing 10: Tagging and

In my last blog post, Blogging About Technology, I promised to write more about newspaper database editing.

Back in the dark ages of electronic database searching, a query had to be quite precise in order to bring back the desired results. This meant that every single story in the daily newspaper has to have "keywords" attached to it so that reporters, editors, and researchers can retrieve them and get relevant results. Because so much newspaper research is done on a tight deadline, they can't afford to weed through irrelevant results.

One of the chores performed by newspaper library staff is called "database enhancement". Basically, it involves making sure that all of the searchable fields are entered correctly: title, date, page, edition, reporter, keywords, and graphics.

Fast forward to the web 2.0 world and now this called "tagging". But that was then, and this is now! In my old newspaper library days, we had to adhere to an approved list of keywords and could not stray without permission from a supervisor. However, many people don't know to search using the formal keywords. A library example of this is that cookbooks are catalogued in the subject "cookery" but customers would search the catalog looking for "cookbook".

Tagging makes searching easier for the lay person. It can make finding things so much easier but on the other hand, can enable the return of many false results.

So far as, I've had an account for some time there. At first, I thought I would find it useful for when I move from computer to computer during the week. As it turns out, though, I have only about 50 websites that I use consistently, and I have them saved to my My Yahoo! portal page. I access most of my daily information from My Yahoo! including e-mail, weather, stocks, headlines, and more. To also add my bookmarks to would be redundant. But that is just for me. I can see where it is a very valuable tool.

Google has made bookmarking somewhat irrelevant anymore. I have the Google toolbar on my browser and if I need a website, I simply type in a couple of key words that I know will bring up my desired is quicker and easier than typing in even a known URL, and faster than going through my bookmarks...whether the ones in my browser or the ones in my account.

I can see where would be useful for reference departments in the library to save frequently used sites for the whole staff. However, I find that I don't really need it on a personal level.

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