I read “Folksonomy and Taxonomy – do you have to choose?,” which takes the position that a SharePoint administrator can use a formal controlled term list or just let the users slap their own terms into an index field. The buzzword for allowing users to index documents is part of a larger 20 something invention—folksonomy. The key segment for me in the SharePoint centric Jopx blog was:
The way that SharePoint 2010 supports the notion of promoting free tags into a managed taxonomy demonstrates that a folksonomy can be used as a source to define a taxonomy as well.
Let me try and save you a lot of grief. Indexing must be normalized. The idea is to use certain terms to retrieve documents with reasonable reliability. Humans who are not trained indexers do a lousy job of applying terms. Even professional indexers working in production settings fall into some well known ruts. For example, unless care is exercised in management and making the term list available, humans will work from memory. The result is indexing that is wrong about 15 percent of the time. Machine indexing when properly tuned can hit that rate. The problem is the that the person looking for information assumes that indexing is 100 percent accurate. It is not.
The idea behind controlled term lists is that these are logically consistent. When changes are made such as the addition of a term such as “webinar” as a related term to “seminar”, a method exists to keep the terms consistent and a system is in place to update the index terms for the corpus.