Social Tagging – Questions Answered on Correction Tools and Vendors

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of giving a presentation on taxonomy vs. folksonomy in the enterprise to the Deloitte Social Tagging & Taxonomy Community of Practice, thanks to an invitation by fellow taxonomy enthusiasts Annie Wang and Lee Romero.

It was a fun presentation (a variation on this talk) and the audience asked some great questions afterwards. I was only able to answer a couple of questions before time ran out, so I offered to answer the rest on my blog. Here are the additional questions & answers:

1. Are there tools for auto-correcting social tags?

I had mentioned the idea that folksonomies are considered to be “self-correcting” or self-tuning – through volume of tags and users, anomalies (like single-use tags, misspellings, etc.) tend to be pushed to the side and the majority will trend towards correct/useful tags.This is an idea that I picked up from a whitepaper on social tagging by Oracle:

All social input strategies rely on the good-graces of well-intentioned users habituated to provide input over time to succeed…  Social strategies will self-correct for this problem over time under the presumption that more users than not will provide “good” information.

While this is the case on the web, where there are millions of users and tags, it will not likely occur as easily or quickly in the reduced scope of the enterprise, where you have a tiny fraction of this volume. So the question asks whether there are tools available to help encourage good tags by auto-correcting things like spelling mistakes, plural forms, etc.

The short answer is…. not really.

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