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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • There are a few articles about these two opposite approaches, with links (surpise!) somewhere on del.icio.us. My favourite is many 2 many: folksonomies + controlled vocabularies [corante.com]

    It discusses the problem you're having: predefined classifications, AKA "controllled vocabularies", vs. the free tagging as on del.icio.us, aka "folksonomies". Like Ziggy said, people are only starting to grasp how it works, how it should work, how it should evolve.

    The major problem with controlled vocabularies is, and I quote from that article:

    Furthermore, users pollute controlled vocabularies, either because they misapply the words, or stretch them to uses the designers never imagined, or because the designers say “Oh, let’s throw in an ‘Other’ category, as a fail-safe” which then balloons so far out of control that most of what gets filed gets filed in the junk drawer. Usenet blew up in exactly this fashion, where the 7 top-level controlled categories were extended to include an 8th, the ‘alt.’ hierarchy, which exploded and came to dwarf the entire, sanctioned corpus of groups.

    The major problem of folksonomies, OTOH, is the complete lack of structure, and synonymous tags. Merging those tags will most likely be one of the things we'll have to apply in the future — the major problem yet to tackle being partly overlapping tags, like "math" and "calculus", where the latter is a subpart of the former. In theory you can tackle that problem by attaching more than one tag (a major advantage a free tagging system, as opposed to how a book can only be in one place in the library), but it remains a problem when people forget about the more general tag in favour of the more specific one.

    BTW one more interesting article is Tagging the Internet [wsj.com], an article about the promise of folksonomies.