Monday, March 31, 2014

User Tagging in Library Catalogs

     This week’s readings have focused on user-generated contributions, particularly those of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. However, user-generated content is also at work in library catalogs.

     Some library catalogs allow users to “tag” bibliographic records with descriptors of their choosing, creating another way to describe and provide access to materials. However, these tags are in no way as consistent as the controlled subject headings assigned by bibliographers. While tags are not consistent, they may provide access to materials that traditional cataloging may ignore.

     In “Tagging for Subject Access: A Glimpse Into Current Practice by Vendors, Libraries, and Users,” author Dr. Sharon Q. Yang, a professor and librarian at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ, reports that of 37 major Integrated Library Systems, only 5.41% allow user tagging.  She also found that public libraries were more likely to incorporate user tagging. To read her report, click here.

Yang, Sharon Q. “Tagging for Subject Access: A Glimpse Into Current Practice by Vendors,  
     Libraries, and Users.” Computers in Libraries 32.9 (2012): 19-23. Web. Ebscohost. 31 March  

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