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January 6th, 2006

LiveJournal and Librarian Geekery

As almost all of you know, LiveJournal lets people mark their entries with tags (those hyperlinks in the upper left corner of this entry.) I've been very intrigued to study the different ways bloggers use those tags.

I, personally, use them as "subject matter headings". I have relatively few tags, each one covering a broad topic. If you're interested in this entry on librarianship, you might be interested in other entries on other aspects of librarianship - click away to your heart's content. (I still remember the moment in high school when I realized how the "Subject" lines on card catalog cards could open up my research - that, after *years* of indoctrination in library research when I was in elementary school! For some reason, if I'd found a book by using the Title or Author parts of the catalog, I'd just never thought to look for other books with the same Subject categories. Bad, bad me.)

Others, though, use their tags as an index. They have a relatively high number of tags, several of which are only used on one entry. When those LiveJournalers "manage" their tags (using LJ's editing features), they can pull up specific articles on specific topics.

Indexing is both an art and a science, and it is hardly ever taught (at least, it wasn't taught any longer, when I was in library school.) There's been a lot of talk in library circles about folksonomy (the development, by not-library-trained individuals, of categories for information). I haven't heard or read, though, scholarly articles about the merging of subject matters and indexes.


Mindy, who has bored all of you to tears but just had to get this thought off her librarian chest

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