to tag or not to tag

I was reading my Google Reader and Jonathan Rochkin’s Tagging and motivation in library catalog? post caught my attention. He asked about the “why” of tagging, the motivation that drive people to tag. He asked “Why would a user spend their valuable time adding tags to books in your library catalog?”

I have the same question as well, for I still don’t really grasp the social implication of tagging, aside from whatever stuff Dave Weinberger said on his ‘Everything is Miscellaneous’ blog on tagging.

Back to library catalog tagging: if I were a student and found a useful resource for my course, then I probably would tag it with my course number and the topic of the paper my professor assigned to me. That would make it easier for me to find that resource again. If my classmates did the same thing, then I could get a list of resources for my paper.

However, I probably would use the catalog as an “on demand” activity. That is, I would use the library catalog as needed and if I find a resource suitable for my paper, I want to get it right away and prefer none of my classmates find out about it. Chances are, my classmates would do the same thing. Tagging almost becomes a moot point.

OK. This doesn’t help. Sorry.

This might be different if I did a group project. Each of us could tag resources that would be useful for our project. We could have a list of resources that can be listed on our project report. That tagging collaboration would still be a short-live activity, however.

Personally, I found out that I am not really into the tagging thingy. I reviewed my delicious list and realized that my tags are actually the reflection of the content of the site, not the “why”. If I tag them by the “why”, most of them would probably tagged as “cool application” or “interesting stuff.” Or “the site mentioned by Tim O’Reilly because I follow his blog and, by the way, it is indeed an interesting stuff.”

Horizon Reports – emerging technologies for higher education

Horizon Project is a collaboration between the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. Since 2004, they produce reports on emerging technologies that “will impact higher education within three adoption horizons over the net one to five years.”

Last year (2007 Horizon Report) , their report touched user-created content and social networkings and projected this adoption in one year or less. The adoption mobile phones for education & learning and using virtual worlds as learning spaces were projected in two to three years. The new scholarship & emerging forms of publication (new models of publication and nontraditional scholarly products) as well as multi player educational gaming time-to-adoption were projected in four to five years.
This report can be found at

Recently, they just produced a new report (2008 edition) that touched several key emerging technologies to be applied to teaching and learning:
– Grassroots Video: better and cheaper (if not free) tools allow the creation of educational videos and disseminate them quickly. No need to rely on an exclusive group of professionals and on expensive equipments or infrastructure.
– Collaboration Webs: using web-based collaboration tools for teaching/learning and research activities.
– Mobile Broadband: more powerful personal devices and can be used to access the educational content.
– Data Mashups: combining data from different sources and producing new datasets.
– Collective Intelligence: knowledge and understanding that emerges from large groups of people. This is facilitated by the collaboration webs and utilizing the data mashups.
– Social Operating Systems: connecting people through network. The organization of the networking would be around people rather than around content.

This year’s report can be found at

Most of the items mentioned above are probably already implemented at least on personal or group level (think YouTube, GoogleDocs, iPhone, or Utilizing similar technology for teaching and learning does present some challenges especially in the area of assessments, policy, growing expectations, and changes in infrastructure.

Which Books – choose ’em based on yer mood

Neat stuff, actually.

You click the mood and it will allow you to adjust a dial from, say, “Happy” to “Sad.” Made think, if you put the dial close to happy, how would you call it? “Not So Happy”? “Not Sad and Rather Happy”? I think I’m in the mood of reading something silly. But, yeah, “silly” is relative and it’s not one of the choices.

When you get list of books, you don’t see the typical catalog results from many of the library catalogs. No call number, no location. Just titles, author, a review, and snippet of text, if available. Once you’re interested in a book, you click the Borrow button and the system will ask you which library you’re associate it and take you to its catalog system.

I don’t know if they ask the affiliate library because they don’t recognize my IP address or it’s the system’s default (I am, after all, getting spoiled by WorldCat.) I also don’t know what would happen if the book I’m interested in is not available from the local library. I suppose they would do an automatic Interlibrary Loan. I hope so.

The book collection was jointly developed by public libraries from England, Wales, and Scotland. You can view the collection, but you, of course, have to have their library card to borrow the book.