Tag – you remember that game from youth? The one that had as many variations as the number of places it was played. Well, tagging, a way to identify different information online, is kind of the same. When I save something in my online bookmarks or I add information to my Evernote notes, I have started using tags to identify them and make it easier for me to find different pieces of information that I have. The tough part is using tags in such a way that it actually makes it easier to find the information!
The Eye of the Tagger
Since we each have our own unique way of looking at information, sometimes what I think makes perfect sense for a tag doesn’t for others. On information that is just for me, like my Evernote information, the tags just need to make sense to me since I’m the only one using it. However, on other sites, like when I bookmark, it gets a bit more tricky since the tags I give a link are then part of the global tags that people will use for finding information. So, for instance, if I tag a url with “classroom resource”, technology, web2.0, “teacher tech” and smartboard, people who type any of these into the search category will find that url. Now, many sites have “tag clouds” that give a list of words or phrases which have been used on the site as tags. The more they have been used, the more they stand out.
This is an image of the tags I use for one of my online bookmarking accounts. As you can see the bold words are the ones I use more often. Now, these are the recent tags that I have used. In total, I have a whopping 596 tags which means I really should go in and edit the tags to reduce it to a number that will make my searches much more refined.
Pick a Tag – Any Tag
Most sites now have the ability to offer tag suggestions for something that you are about to add. With my online bookmarking, these suggestions are useful as they give me an idea on how I might classify the information. I don’t always use them but it really does help with classifying the information. Also, if I have a number of tags for one url, then it will show up when these tags are searched. I don’t want to get crazy with the tags but having 5 to 8 is a good number and gives some options.
Putting the tail on the Donkey
Tags are a something that make it easier to find information on a site and help me to sort the information that I am gathering. With a bit of thought, the tags you enter can make it much easier for you to find that information at a later date. However, if you just store things away, like I sometimes do in the closet, you forget where and what you’ve stored away. That’s why tagging the information, like putting things in boxes and sorting out the closet, makes it easier to find. Like the closet, I’ve sometimes been surprised by what I find there – “So this is where I put it!” By really being judicious with the tags you use and remembering that storing the information is easy – it’s finding it later than can be the real task!