Social Structure in Tagging Practices: Reality or Myth?
Fani Marvasti, Amin
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Tagging is widely adopted in so-called "collaborative-tagging" systems which are one of the Web 2.0 applications that have achieved lots of attention lately. They provide services for users to store, manage and search web resources with the help of freely chosen keywords, called "tags". Because of the high-volume usage of these systems and the annotations that users provide by their tags, these systems are regarded as good targets for disciplines like knowledge discovery. Roughly, two lines of research have been pursued so far on collaborative tagging: to study the structure of tags and to study their functionality in web search. In this research we investigated tagging structures in a popular collaborative-tagging system, called del.icio.us, by focusing on the relations of "tags", "users" and "web resources", three main components of any collaborative-tagging system. Particularly we are interested in finding whether there are social structures that could be used to increase the usability of these systems for content retrieval and navigation. Our results show that people mainly use tags for their own informational needs which are personal rather than social. Any social structure or communities around tags and users is rare and weak which suggests that collaborative tagging has not added much to personal bookmarking. However, we show some regularities in tagging behavior that could be utilized for user experience improvement.