Question: Should we allow the public to tag descriptions in our online catalog? Why or why not?
NARA is in the very early phases of designing its next generation online catalog. Should we allow the public to tag catalog descriptions? Why or why not?
Our current online catalog, the Archival Research Catalog (ARC), does not allow for tagging. Staff archivists can add subject terms from our authority list of approved subject headings (based on the Library of Congress Subject Authority Headings), but in many cases there is not enough time to index the descriptions. People using the catalog would be able to add whatever tags or keywords to the catalog descriptions.
What do you think?
[Revised: August 14, 2009]
In response to your great suggestions about adding background info on tagging, here are a few resources we thought might be of interest:
A general definition from Wikipedia:
A mainly positive review from Newsweek:
- Levy, Steven. “In the New Game of Tag, All of Us Are It.” Newsweek, 18 April 2005/ http://www.newsweek.com/id/49636.
A more conservative assessment in the journal D-Lib Magazine:
- Guy, Marieke, and Emma Tonkin. “Folksonomies: Tidying up Tags?” D-Lib Magazine 12, no. 1 (2006) http://www.dlib.org/dlib/january06/guy/01guy.html.