Ming the Mechanic:
Tagwebs, Flickr, and the Human Brain

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Tagwebs, Flickr, and the Human Brain2005-02-04 16:15
picture by Flemming Funch

Jakob Lodwick has an epiphany on tagging and Flickr and how the human brain works. OK, I'm not sure it really says anything new, but he explains, for dummies, what it is to tag your pictures, and why that's a really good thing, which just might tweak greater intelligence out of the net.

Tagging is basically just that you can assign a category or keyword of some kind to some piece of data, like a picture. That is an example of metadata. That is, it isn't the thing itself, but it is something you say about it. Or which somebody else comes along later and says about it. And the cool thing is that if that is done in a reasonably standard way, all sorts of software and search engines can come along later and show a lot of previously hard-to-find connections, and they can group things together for you that have similar tags.

That would be the Semantic Web. I.e. that instead of just a bunch of free-form text and pictures on millions of webpages, we tag things in more finegrained detail as to what it is. This is a name, this is a country, this is a movie, this is a quote, etc. If that was done with all the data on the net, amazing new things will be possible. But the trouble is that it is a lot of work, and not really much fun, to go over existing texts and add a lot of tags saying what it is. And then the trouble is how we agree on what the proper category structure is. If you call it "city" and I call it "town" and French people call it "ville", how can we group it together well enough. Those are hard problems that aren't sufficiently solved. In part because human language is fuzzy, and we all have different mind maps of how things should be organized ina perfect world. So, the semantic web hasn't really happened, and any examples of it tend to be kind of pathetic and not really useful.

So, the tag thing, even though it is the same idea, sort of relaxes the tension and opens it up for instant use. I.e. you don't worry about the perfect ontology of categories. You just tag thing you care about, with whatever tags make sense for you. And smart programs come along later and try to make useful applications based on the tags they find.

Hm, I've gotta make some of those.

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4 Feb 2005 @ 16:59 by RatcliffeBrowse @ : MingTag Ming the Mechanic: Tagwebs, Flic
ming_th.html|trackback}]: Ming the Mechanic: Tagwebs, Flickr, and the Human Brain: ...instead of just a bunch of free-form text and pictures on millions of webpages, we tag things in more finegrained detail as to what it is. This is a name,...  

4 Feb 2005 @ 18:17 by Kenny "Kenny Sepety" Sepety @ : NO

4 Feb 2005 @ 20:32 by jstarrs : You saw that?
Boomark it.
It could come in handy one day.  

4 Feb 2005 @ 20:41 by ming : Mustard?
I looked at it for 30 seconds, and thought it said Nostradamus, but, ah, I see it says "Mustard". Still doesn't make any sense out of it.  

4 Feb 2005 @ 20:51 by jstarrs : The Kenny site....
..all american fun.

5 Feb 2005 @ 02:20 by Jon Husband @ : Tagging
Hi, F. We haven't spoken for a bit re: Qumana ... but the most recent versions make it clear that adding both tags from controlled vocabularies and subjective tags will be quite easy .. but we have a real need soon for a smart, savvy and skilled developer. Are you still looking for some work, 'cuz imo your understanding of all this stuff remains (in my mind) a very useful thing for us. Our biz plan has changed, and it's more of a "cooperative ownership and sharing" slant. If you ever manage to think you might have any interest, I'll be glad to hear from you.  

5 Feb 2005 @ 22:35 by ming : Qumana
Yes, I'm interested. I haven't looked at the program since last we spoke, as, well, my sucky windows computer succumbed from the load of viruses and spyware, and I didn't get it reinstalled yet.  

6 Feb 2005 @ 17:56 by Jon Husband @ : You Won't See ...
... anything clear related to my above remarks from a re-install .. we'll have to chat about what I'm alluding to via email or iChat or something.  

6 Feb 2005 @ 22:21 by ming : windows
Oh, I meant reinstall my #@%$&%@!! Windows OS. Nothing wrong with Qumana. Anyway, yes, let's talk more.  

9 Apr 2005 @ 17:32 by Josh Gentry @ : Tags and Synchronicity
Tagging is a step in the direction of making synchronicty more likely. Here is a little post about some synchronicity in thinking about tags.


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Other stories in
2014-09-27 00:04: You must be an expert by now
2014-09-26 15:15: Brevity
2011-11-06 21:33: Counting what counts
2011-01-23 13:46: Authenticity
2010-08-23 01:31: Semantic Pauses
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2009-10-25 17:04: Opinions, perceptions and intuition
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2008-06-29 16:47: Complicated and Complex
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