Taxonomy and Folksonomy

Ramesh Jain writes:

It is clear that the problem of automatically extracting content from images or any other media is a difficult problem. Even in text we could not do it. That resulted in all our search engines using simple keyword based approaches or developing approaches that will have significant manual component and will address only specific areas. Another interesting finding was that for an amorphous and large collection of information, taxonomy based approach was too rigid for navigation. Since it was found relatively easier to develop inverted file structures to search for keywords in large collections, people found the idea of tags attractive. By somehow assigning tags, we could organize relatively unstructured files and search. About the same time that this was found, the idea of the wisdom of crowd became popular. So it is easy to argue that tags could be assigned by people and will result in wise tags (because they are assigned by the crowd) and will be much better approach than the dictatorial taxonomy.

If everybody assigned several appropriate tags to a photo that she uploaded and then the crowd seeing that photo also assigned appropriate tags then the wisdom of crowd may come in action. But if the up loader rarely assigns tags and viewers, if any, assign tags even more rarely, then there is no crowd and there is no wisdom. Interesting game like approaches (See WWW.ESPGAME.ORG) are being developed to assign tags to images.

Based on what I have seen so far, it appears that the success may come from some interesting combination of taxonomy and folksonomy.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.