Tim "LibraryThing" Spalding has just announced a new feature on LibraryThing, currently the most impressive instance of so-called Library 2.0 that I know of. The new feature addresses a topic that many (including myself) have been wrestling with for a while now: the relationship of formal knowledge organization systems to folksonomies. Tim's Mother's Day blog post speaks to the raging controversy:
Are tags better than subjects? Are subjects better than tags? Are tags just a fad? Will tags replace subjects? Are tags evil? Are subjects evil? (Believe me, the idea is out there.) Librarians have become deeply emeshed in the debate, with partisans on both sides. Until now, there hasn't been much in the way of hard data, at least for books. LibraryThing provides that.
This last is the exciting part. LT has provided a platform to explore the behaviors of both in a coherent, data-rich system. Researchers, start your systems!
image: Carolyn Dunford, of the UW MLIS program,alerted me to a lovely wildlife preserve nearly within slingshot distance of the UW (known as the Montlake FIll). This is a closeup of one or another species of Horsetail (Thanks to Bob O'Hara for the ID), taken at the preserve.