Tags are the new black

September 23rd, 2006

UMBC ebiquityWe recently upgraded our site’s simple keyword system to be a more fashionable tagging system. We’ve always had a feature by which key words and phrases could be associated with most of the objects in our site’s database, e.g., papers, projects, software, events, etc., but we never did much with it and suspected that visitors rarely used them to search for things of interest.

Several weeks ago, Filip revised it to be more of a tagging system. We have a site-wide tag cloud and can generate pages listing all of the items with a particular set of tags, like splog or pervasive computing and semantic web. These tag related pages have links for associated bookmarks (e.g., run the query again) and RSS feeds (e.g., run the query and deliver results as an RSS feed).

What we have is a group tagging system. That is, objects have tags and any ebiquity member can modify the set of tags associated with any object. One novel feature is a simple tag rewriting system intended to keep our tagging somewhat consistent. Lab members can add rules that will automatically rewrite tags, e.g., replacing BLOGS with BLOG.

One problem is that this new tagging system is completely separate from the category-based tagging system used on the ebiquity blog. At some point in the near future, we will probably add a linking table, so that the two will be connected somehow.