• Social classification and folksonomy in art museums: Early data from the steve.museum tagger prototype

      Trant, Jennifer; Furner, Jonathan; Tennis, Joseph T. (2006)
      The collections of art museums have been assembled over hundreds of years and described, organized and classified according to traditions of art historical research and discourse. Art museums, in their role as curators and interpreters of the cultural record, have developed standards for the description of works of art (such as the Categories for the Description of Works of Art, CDWA) that emphasize the physical nature of art as artefact, the authorial role of the creator, the temporal and cultural context of creation and ownership, and the scholarly significance of the work over time. Collections managers have recorded conservation, exhibition, loan and publication history, along with significant volumes of internal documentation of acquisition and storage, that support the custody and care of artefacts of significant cultural value. But the systems of documentation and classification that support the professional discourse of art history and the management of museum collections have failed to represent the interests, perspectives or passions of those who visit [use?] museum collections, both on-site and online. As museums move to reflect the breadth of their audiences and the diversity of their perspectives, so must museum documentation change to reflect concerns other than the traditionally art historical and museological. Social tagging offers a direct way for museums to learn what museum-goers see in works of art, what they judge as significant and where they find or make meaning. Wi thin the steve collaboration(http://www.steve.museum), a group of art museums is collectively exploring the role of social tagging and studying the resulting folksonomy (Bearman & Trant, 2005; Chun, Cherry, Hiwiller, Trant, & Wyman, 2006; Trant & Wyman, 2006). Analysis of terms collected in the prototype steve tagger suggests that social tagging of art museum objects can in fact augment museum documentation with unique access points not found in traditional cataloguing. Terms collected through social tagging tools are being compared to museum documentation, to establish the actual contributions made by naïve users to the accessibility of art museum collections and to see if social classification provides a way to bridge the semantic gap between art historians and art museumsâ publics.
    • Studying Social Tagging and Folksonomy: A Review and Framework

      Trant, Jennifer (2009-01)
      This paper reviews research into social tagging and folksonomy (as reflected in about 180 sources published through December 2007). Methods of researching the contribution of social tagging and folksonomy are described, and outstanding research questions are presented. This is a new area of research, where theoretical perspectives and relevant research methods are only now being defined. This paper provides a framework for the study of folksonomy, tagging and social tagging systems. Three broad approaches are identified, focusing first, on the folksonomy itself (and the role of tags in indexing and retrieval); secondly, on tagging (and the behaviour of users); and thirdly, on the nature of social tagging systems (as socio-technical framewor
    • Tagging, Folksonomy and Art Museums: Early Experiments and Ongoing Research

      Trant, Jennifer (2009-01)
      Tagging has proven attractive to art museums as a means of enhancing the indexing of online collections. This paper examines the state of the art in tagging within museums and introduces the steve.museum research project, and its study of tagging behaviour and the relationship of the resulting folksonomy to professionally created museum documentation. A variety of research questions are proposed and methods for answering them discussed. Experiments implemented in the steve.museum research collaboration are discussed, preliminary results suggested, and further work described.
    • Tagging, Folksonomy and Art Museums: Results of steve.museum's research

      Trant, Jennifer (2009-01)
      Tagging has proven attractive to art museums as a means of enhancing access to on-line collections. The steve.museum research project studied tagging and the relationship of the resulting folksonomy to professionally created museum documentation. A variety of research questions were proposed, and methods for answering them explored. Works of art were assembled to be tagged, a tagger was deployed, and tagging encouraged. A folksonomy of 36,981 terms was gathered, comprising 11,944 terms in 31,031 term/work pairs. The analysis of the tagging of these works - and the assembled folksonomy - is reported here, and further work described. Tagging is shown to provide a significantly different vocabulary than museum documentation: 86% of tags were not found in museum documentation. The vast majority of tags - 88.2% - were assessed as Useful for searching by museum staff. Some users (46%) always contributed useful tags, while others (5.1%) never assigned a useful tag. Useful-ness increased dramatically when terms were assigned more than once. Activity for Registered Users was approximately twice that of Anonymous Users. The behaviour of individual supertaggers had far more influence on the resulting folksonomy than any interface variable. Relating tags to museum controlled-vocabularies proved problematic at best. Tagging by the public is shown to address works of art from a perspective different than that of museum documentation. User tags provide additional points of view to those in existing museums records. Within the context of art museums, user contributed tags could help reflect the breadth of approaches to works of art, and improve searching by offering access to alternative points of view. Tags offer another layer that supplements and complements the documentation provided by professional museum cataloguers.