I attended a presentation yesterday called, “Social Tagging at Harvard: a delicious alternative or passing Flickr?” at Harvard. It was very enjoyable and I was exposed to a few new bookmarking and tagging sites that I was unaware of. Michael Hemment, Research Librarian & Head of Scholary Research Initiatives at Harvard’s Widener Library, was the moderator and was a great presenter. In addition to Michael, Adam Seldow and Carla Lillvik of the Harvard Graduate School of Education presented on the development and managment of edtags, a social bookmarking site at the Education School. Michael showed examples of how some universities are using these tools to enhance research. We visited PennTags, the “social bookmarking tool for locating, organizing, and sharing your favorite online resources”. It allows students to add their own tags to OPAC records thus enhancing the content. In the Q&A portion of the presentation, the question that was probably on everybody’s mind was raised, “what about security?”. Adam emphasized that because the tools are web-based they’re somewhat vulnerable but that warnings of this type are usually stated clearly before signing up. Overall it was really exciting to see that libraries are embracing social bookmarking and tagging in some capacities. I think a lot of consideration needs to be given to the implications of having multiple people contribute to research tools like an OPAC but I also think we should not dismiss the concept of collaboration just because we may lose some things like a controlled vocabulary. I think there is probably room for these things to coexist.
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