Tagging is fast becoming one of the primary ways people organize and manage digital information. Tagging complements traditional organizational tools like folders and search on users desktops as well as on the web. These developments mean that tagging has broad implications for information management, information architecture and interface design. And its reach extends beyond these technical domains to our culture at large. We can imagine, for example, the scrapbookers of the future curating their digital photos, emails, ticket stubs and other mementos with tags. This book explains the value of tagging, explores why people tag, how tagging works and when it can be used to improve the user experience. It exposes tagging's superficial simplicity to reveal interesting issues related to usability, information architecture, online community and collective intelligence.
Gene Smith is a consultant specializing in information architecture strategy, social classification like tagging and folksonomies, emergent information architecture and interaction design. As a principal at nForm User Experience, he's advised clients like Comcast, Ancestry.com and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. Through conference presentations and online publication Gene has helped define social information architecture, an emerging field that looks at how user interactions create structure in information spaces.