Mobtagging DisCourse Report
After the mobtagging workshop @ ANMI summerschool 2005
How can we use and describe the content of unstructured online information in a personal and efficient way? How can we filter the overload of information faster and more adequately? The solution brought forward in this workshop is using tags that contain metadata, telling you exactly what you want to know about specific online information. These tags are exchangeable with other users. The practice of connecting metadata carrying tags with online information is called folksonomy, or MOBTAGGING.
The aim of mobtagging is to describe content more adequately and personally, or pinpoint interesting information faster than the average search engine or online directory. Mob- or social tagging can provide more precise search results for specialized interests.
Together with ANMI Summerschool, Mediamatic organized the Mobtagging workshop in which the use of metadata and the nature of tagged information structures are addressed from a user’s point of view. In order to ask the right questions, the whole practise of tagging had to be explained first. What is metadata? What types of metadata are there? And how are the tags that contain metadata used? Information architect Marcel van Mackelenbergh gave a clear insight in the design and functionality of usable tags. He made the power of mobtagging in the on- and offline world clear in a very enthousiastic way.
After Ino Paap, internet designer and programmer at Mediamatic, presented some of Mediamatic’s projects in wich mobtaging plays an important role. The central question in his presentation was: how can mobtagging be used within the context of social processes in online communities? He showed Videoletters.net, a website where people can find lost friends in former Yugoslavia. While looking at this online community (and many others) it became clear that keywords are language and gender specific. In another project called Geheugen van Oost tagging is also an important tool to navigate through the site. In this community 60 reporters collect stories and add keywords to them. The last example hva.onderwijsontwikkeling.nl showed how three departments of different institutions exchange knowledge by letting users create their own tags and linking them to specific content. In this way an original network is created that provides different views on the knowledge available.
With technical and theoretical knowledge about social tagging and a lot of examples at hand, it was time for the participants to develop their own user scenario’s and jump deeper into the internet user’s point of view. What is the target audience? What does your audience want to know? What is their goal? What steps do they have to take to reach that goal? What digital pathway would a user follow? And most importantly: what kind of metadata can be linked to the information? After designing user scenario’s, individual ideas and scenario proposals were put to the test. Models were built by using del.icio.us
and quickpost. By sharing the scenario’s in del.icio.us the social dimension of linking metadata to online information became explicit.