Monday, 17 September 2007


"Folksonomy" was recently voted one of the new terms most likely to make you "wince, shudder or want to bang your head on the keyboard." Our Institute for Creative Technologies is hosting a talk by the inventor of the term – Thomas Vander Wal - tomorrow from 2 -3.30pm in Clephan 0.01. The talk is open to all and will not require any specialist knowledge on behalf of the audience.

A Folksonomy can be created when users of "web2.0" sites such as YouTube, Flickr, LastFM and add keywords ("tags") to the items they view in order to add information about these items. As more and more users tags such items more information is created about the items. Unlike library catalogues which are created by experts, folksonomies are like catalogues created by everyday people. For some, this heralds a brave new era of democratic information management, for others it heralds the death of expertise.

Thomas Vander Wal lives in Bethesda, Maryland, and this is a rare opportunity to hear him in the UK. He coined the term "folksonomy" in 2004 and is a popular speaker on tagging and folksonomy, social web, and web applications around well-structured information. He is principal, and senior consultant at InfoCloud Solutions, a social web consulting firm. Thomas has been working professionally on the web since 1995 (with a professional IT background beginning in 1988) and has breadth and depth across many roles and disciplines around web design, social web development & research and general web development. He is a member of the Web Standards Project Steering Committee and helped found the Information Architecture Institute and Boxes & Arrows web magazine. See his web site to find out more:

The lecture is presented as part of the AHRC-funded research project Tags Networks Narratives, examining the interdisciplinary application of experimental social software to the study of narrative in digital contexts. It is a unique speculative project assessing the potential for collaborative social-software techniques such as folksonomy in narrative research.

There will also be a morning seminar. You can find out more at:

No comments: