How Semantic Tagging Increases Findabillity
|By Heather Hedden – October 2008 Issue, Posted Sep 22, 2008
Findability is about making information easier to find. After all, if it cannot be found, it may as well not exist. Leading information specialists have been saying this for years, and now with the increasing volume of content and increasing pressures of time, money, and competition, more of us are finding this statement to be true. In addition to traditional controlled vocabulary-based indexing, information architecture has evolved to make browsing and navigation methods more effective, search engine capabilities have been improving to help us find the proverbial needle in the haystack, and bookmarking and social tagging have emerged to help us find our own content, and that we share with members of a social networking group.
The various methods of enhancing findability each have their limitations. Traditional document indexing/material cataloging and web information architecture do not go deep enough. Indexing is usually at the document level, and cataloging only works on the level of the material as a whole (books, sound recordings, video recordings, etc.). Information architecture aids in the navigation of a website, intranet, or portal, but in itself it is often not sufficient for finding specific information. Search engines match user-entered keywords and phrases to those found within the texts or metatag fields of documents, but these are still just word matches and do not necessarily go after the meaning of a document. For example, many words are quite ambiguous, and search results would not be accurate on words such as “state,” “log,” or “screen”—even in combination with other words. Social tagging only involves files or webpages that the user and colleagues have already viewed or created. More significantly, though, social tagging tends to suffer from inconsistent application of tags, such as using both synonyms (movie, motion picture, film), singular/plural forms, and abbreviations (Corporation/ Corp., information/info).
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