Thursday, February 08, 2007

Honk If You Love Tag Clouds

The librarians on the NGC4Lib (Next Generation Catalogs for Libraries) email list are still following the train of thought that tries to connect subject headings with the social networking classification mechanism of tagging. Shortly after Eric Lease Morgan posted about his experiment in loading subject headings from his catalog into , a librarian at Missouri Botanical Garden posted the result of his own similar experiment. And his makes a lovely tag cloud. Who could resist clicking on a big green "Early Works to 1800", just to see what they have?

A question on the Public Libraries email list about a suitable software for cataloging a church library brought the reply that many churches use LibraryThing, and made us wonder about what a church's tag cloud might look like. Here's Tempe Church of Christ's. Christ Redeemer Church. And First Baptist Church, Vallejo.

A little hunting around turns up lots of web sites with the power to make visual displays of their data (1)(2)(3)(4— this one also turns up in Martin Griffiths' fascinating paper, Talking Physics in the Social Web)—and of course the big guys, collecting the results of millions of individual decisions about what something is about: technorati, flickr, If only we had the skills and time to export our own catalog data into tag clouds; the subject headings for, say, the 500 most popular nonfiction books last year. Or to open the catalog to tagging, so you could tell us what our titles are about... well, that's why the NGC4Lib geeks play with this stuff.

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