The folksonomy tag cloud: When is it useful?

  • Sinclair J
  • Cardew-Hall M
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The weighted list, known popularly as a `tag cloud', has appeared on many popular folksonomy-based web-sites. Flickr, Delicious, Technorati and many others have all featured a tag cloud at some point in their history. However, it is unclear whether the tag cloud is actually useful as an aid to finding information. We conducted an experiment, giving participants the option of using a tag cloud or a traditional search interface to answer various questions. We found that where the information-seeking task required specific information, participants preferred the search interface. Conversely, where the information-seeking task was more general, participants preferred the tag cloud. While the tag cloud is not without value, it is not sufficient as the sole means of navigation for a folksonomy-based dataset. 10.1177/0165551506078083

Author-supplied keywords

  • Collaborative tagging
  • Folksonomies
  • Information retrieval
  • Tag clouds
  • User interfaces

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  • James Sinclair

  • Michael Cardew-Hall

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