January 13, 2005
Ethnographic Study of Ethnoclassification
Another useful look at [ethnoclassification/tagsonomy/folksonomy/communal categorization], this time with actual users and focusing on del.icio.us. Take a look at Bookmark, Classify and Share: A mini-ethnography of social practices in a distributed classification community by Ulises Ali Mejias (via iaslash.org).
[…] it is hard for people to make the initial conceptual shift from traditional forms of classification (using fixed taxonomies) to distributed classification schemes (using flexible taxonomies). The freedom to define individual and social structures of classification emergently can be perceived as chaotic, lacking rigor and utility. However, the more comfortable users become with a systemís features, the more aware they become of the benefits of distributed classification, and the more aware they also become of working within its limitations.