Tuesday 4 March 2008

Categories vs Tags - a pointless fight?

I have been thinking about removing the category navigation system on this site and replacing it with a tag cloud.

So I obviously hit google first to find out a bit more... i.e.: is it possible.

Nice quick answer to that, yes, if you have version 2.3 or above. Cool.

But then I got into reading everyones comments about using categories or tags and how and when you should use either.

This seems ridiculous to me.

They are both navigation system.

But more importantly, categories can be implemented in tags, so categories are a subset of tags, rather than a different thing.

But more importantly, no one seems to be talking about the real power of a tag cloud... when you can drill into the information.

Navigation a non-heirarchical storage system is very different from a standard heirarchical system.

Instead of nice heirarchical menus, you must normally be able to find you document with search, or tags.

But in effect, tags are simply user defined categories. They are still heirarchical, just 1 dimensional.

Why is no-one talking about using tags to drill into information.
ie: a combination of tags to select documents.

This would truely follow the web 2.0 ethics: i.e.: organic, non-heirarchical, user generated social intelligence.

It would be easy... you click on a tag, then click on another one, each time the number of tags displayed is limited by documents that have the ones you have already selected, so you are drilling down into you information resource.

If you now had a dynamic document box showing availble documents with all the selected tags, you should be easily able to choose what you are looking for.

An added benefit, would be finding stuff that is on-topic, but you would never have thought about.

Best off all, this multi-point access system is almost identical to the way the brain works. It would be completely intuitive.

So, I am off to see if I can find anything.. otherwise, watch this space.

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