Dispatches from ASIS&T – Panel on Social Tagging and Reader’s Advisory

“Beyond the Playlist: Looking at User-Generated Collocation of Cultural Products through Social Tagging”

Nadine Desrochers, University of Montreal
Audrey Laplante, University of Montreal
Anabel Quan-Haase, University of Western Ontario
Kim Martin, University of Western Ontario
Diane Rasmussen Pennington, University of Western Ontario
Louise Spiteri, Dalhousie University

The panel consisted of several collaborators working on the same question: what kind of information do we get from social tagging, and can it improve upon the catalog information found in most public libraries?

The researchers looked at the tagging around Casino Royale in Goodreads, Last.fm, and the BiblioCommons and Encore catalog systems to understand the substance and uses of user-generated content in a reader’s advisory framework. They found some interesting things:

  • Goodreads tagging was largely for personal use and genre dominated among the types of tags used. Only some of Saricks’s appeal elements appeared among tags (characterization and setting)
  • Last.fm was more community-oriented in its tagging practices. Tags were often very long and opinion-based, offering information about listening context and personal reactions to the music
  • BiblioCommons has a barely-used review system and Encore’s had not even been turned on. However, LCSH subject headings are rarely helpful for identifying appeal factors in fiction and popular culture; the researchers suggested that sticking to librarian-approved access points limits how users can decide what they want to read next