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How can using "folksonomies" help you?
Why use “folksonomies” and “social tagging”?
Download the Insight Report

  • How can using "folksonomies" help you? Have a look at these few ideas...

1. Keep found things found
Bookmarking an interesting learning resource is an easy way to keep it readily accessible for use at some later point in time when you need it. It is particularly useful when, as often happens, you just stumble across a useful resource. Bookmarking it in your Favourites folder allows you to access it again easily as many times as you want.

2. Access them easily again
Adding your own keywords, also called tags, to your bookmarks helps you to keep them organised, and quickly reminds you about their content..  You can, for example, add keywords that remind you of the topic area, of how you want to use the resource, with what age-range of students etc. These keywords are yours; you decide what they are, in what language(s) and how many! Apart from keywords, you can also add notes. These notes can, for example, might say how you plan to use your material and how you have already used it. These comments become even more useful when shared with other teachers. Theirs might give you a good idea on how a learning resources can be used!

3. Share them with others
Your Favourites folder with all your bookmarks can be shared with other MELT users and this is a great way to highlight good resources that you found. You can also share your Favourites by using keywords. In this way, for example, your students can find a pre-selected collection of resources that you have prepared for them in advance.

A tag cloud from

A tag cloud from LeMill - the most browsed resource is shown by size of font.

  • Why use “folksonomies” and “social tagging”?

In an earlier EUN content project (CELEBRATE), evaluators found that metadata created by an indexer related to the learning resource type may not always reflect how a resource will really be used in classrooms by experienced teachers. For example, an indexer might decide to add metadata which indicates that something is essentially a “drill and practice” type of resource whereas, in practice, teachers might actually be able to use that resource in many different pedagogical contexts – even for collaborative learning. MELT, therefore, begins with the assumption that we also need metadata that more accurately reflects how learning resources are actually used in different learning contexts. And that teachers themselves should be given an opportunity and tools so that they can add their own metadata to resources they have used.

The tools that MELT will make available to teachers so that they can tag their own resources will utilise new ‘folksonomy’ and ‘social tagging’ approaches. A folksonomy is essentially a taxonomy built by users (i.e. folks), which consists of collaboratively generated, open-ended labels or tags that categorise digital content. The result is a web-based information retrieval methodology that allows users to find content based on familiar terms. The Flickr photo-sharing portal is one of the best-known examples of a web site that uses a folksonomy approach and allows users to tag their own content. (You can find descriptions of other social tagging tools here.)

Folksonomies are also frequently developed by online communities where users can not only add their own tags but also share them with other people and see how others have classified the resources that they have created or used. MELT will also examine how this ‘social tagging’ approach can be applied to educational content and evaluate to what extent this new metadata improves current content search and discovery methods.

  • Download the Insight Report: Folksonomies, social bookmarking and tagging: the state-of-the-art

MELT has prepared a comprehensive report that: provides an introduction to social, collaborative tagging practices; explains frequently used terms such as tags, tag cloud and folksonomies; considers some of the advantages and disadvantages of social bookmarking and tagging and offers concrete examples; discusses emerging trends in the field. The report also contains an exhaustive reference list for further reading and a glossary of terms.
You can download it in a pdf version here.