"Social Classification: Panacea or Pandora?" was the theme of the 17th Annual SIG/CR Classification Research Workshop, held last Saturday in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. It was a great success, with 52 registered participants, excellent papers and posters, and lively discussions covering many aspects of "social classification, folksonomies, social tagging, social bookmarking, collaborative indexing, collaborative annotation, etc." The workshop was co-chaired by Joseph Tennis (University of British Columbia) and Jonathan Furner, the latter a former dweller in Dewey Manor, now at UCLA. The papers are available in PDF form on the SIG/CR web site.
The two examples of social tagging most frequently cited during the workshop were the social bookmarking site del.icio.us, where tags are used to describe bookmarks for web sites, and flickr, a site for storing, searching, sorting, and sharing photographs.
The del.icio.us site describes tags as "one-word descriptors that you can assign to your bookmarks on del.icio.us to help you organize and remember them. Tags are a little bit like keywords, but they're chosen by you, and they do not form a hierarchy. You can assign as many tags to a bookmark as you like and rename or delete the tags later. So, tagging can be a lot easier and more flexible than fitting your information into preconceived categories or folders."
In the DDC, social tagging is classed as a form of indexing in 025.48 Subject indexing. Social tagging of special materials is classed in 025.34 Cataloging, classification, indexing of special materials, e.g., tagging of bookmarks for web sites 025.344 Electronic resources, tagging of photographs 025.3471 Pictures and prints.
P.S., use the tag SIGCR2006 to find photos of the workshop on flickr.