I was slow to climb onto the bandwagon of tagging. Like all things that I truly learn to appreciate and enjoy, I thought it was silly at first. But oh was I wrong. I’ve installed and configured Ultimate Tag Warrior on this blog, but more on that later.
First, what is tagging, and why is it worthwhile? Well, for those of you too lazy to read the wikipedia article, briefly: Tagging is the simple process of associating “tags” — word or phrases designed to qualify some sort of content. Think of it as an alternative to the constraint of categories.
Blogs are agreat example of where tags are frequently being used. This post, for example, would probably before have been lumped in the “Miscellaneous” category, because it doesn’t really fit anywhere else. But with tags, I can give ie a few tags: tagging, REST, RSS, aggregators.
The reason this is nice is because then instead of browsing a site, or a collection of data, by category alone, you can combine the tags to refine your browsing/searching. For example, if you’re reading Joe’s blog, you could go to http://joesblog.com/tags/fish to read all his posts about fish, or refine it with http://joesblog.com/tags/fish+cooking to limit it to things he’s tagged with “fish” and “cooking”. You can start to see how this makes it easier both for you, the author, to administer and categorize your data — as well as for the reader in getting at the content you want.
You can hopefully get a feel for how this will work on this blog by visiting the tags page, which for now is just the previous categories we were using, converted to tags. Eventually, this will start to get fleshed out into a more meaningful representation of the sorts of things we post about.