W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > March 2005

Re: "Tag" metaphor

From: Marja Koivunen <marja@annotea.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 12:32:41 -0500
Message-ID: <4241A839.1060604@annotea.org>
To: ben syverson <w3@likn.org>
CC: semantic-web@w3.org

ben syverson wrote:

>
> Hello all,
>
> With the recent tag ontology RFC and official announcement of 
> "tagtriples," what are people's thoughts as to how tags fit into the 
> goals of the Semantic Web? When I follow the "tag" metaphor, I think 
> of a tiny bit of shorthand information temporarily elastic-banded to 
> something else. The tag often has meaning in its specific context; in 
> a furniture warehouse, a tag with four letters might be an inventory 
> code. Yet a nearly identical furniture warehouse just across town 
> might use a different annotation to mean the same thing. Furthermore, 
> the four letters might have a separate meaning to someone else (such 
> as if they spell out "DUCK"). Who do you trust? The majority? How is 
> this the tag metaphor something to aspire to?
>
>     Tags seem very interesting for organizing bookmarks and grouping 
> photos, but will you ever be able to carry out any inference with 
> them? Because the tags themselves are ambiguous, you wind up with all 
> the old problems of distinguishing "python" from "Python," etc. Add to 
> that the issue of millions of users creating tags, and you have a 
> nightmare of overlap and duplication. What can be done with the triple 
> "Becca plays JazzFlute," by a non-human? The reasoner can then see 
> that someone has said "JazzFlute type MusicalStyle," but someone else 
> has said "JazzFlute is SceneInTheMovieAnchorman."
>     The latter statement would be increasingly more likely if we were 
> to stick to strict triples, as in tagtriples. How would you say "there 
> is a scene in the movie Anchorman that depicts Jazz flute" without 
> Bnodes?
>
> I'm not trying to be contrary; I'm just curious, as a newbie, what the 
> advocates of tags have in mind for them in a broad SW context.
>
> - ben
>
>
In Annotea shared bookmarks the tags (or topics as they are called in 
that context) have a unambiguous URI, a title, a description etc. So if 
there are 2 ducks in different contexts if does not matter they are 
separated by the URI.

When the people who created these ducks find out about each other or 
maybe the ideal duck in some standard ornitology etc. ontology they can 
make links to that topic/tag. We right now use seeAlso for that for 
simplicity but maybe other relations can be added.

Maybe you cannot replace one duck with another in every situation, 
however, these relationships are still very valuable. For instance, if 
the 2 persons both find out about the ideal duck and link to it, with 
some data mining they can also find out about each other. If the ducks 
were used for categorizing bookmarks or blogs they can (if they want to) 
now find out bookmarks or blogs the other person has found but which 
were not familiar to them from the beginning.

If someone made categories about toys and toy ducks, these are probably 
not linked together through the ornitogy ontology, but who knows, maybe 
there are some links and maybe in some situations these links become 
really valuable. I can see such situations often happen in 
cross-disciplinary fields. However, when I'm an ornitologist using 
google to find links about ducks I can use the bookmark data on the web 
to order the results not only to better find out ornitology related duck 
links but also to find links that my fellow ornitologists group has 
found useful first.

Could the data be more exact? Yes. Would it help inferencing? Probably. 
Would it be more complex? Yes.
I like to let users produce data in ways that they do naturally and let 
the experts find out ways how to best use that data to enhance our lives.

Marja
Received on Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:32:47 UTC

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