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All indexing is wrong; some indexing is useful : social tagging in libraries Yousefi, Baharak 2007

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ALL INDEXING IS WRONG; SOME INDEXING IS USEFUL: SOCIAL TAGGING IN LIBRARIES  by BAHARAK YOUSEFI B.A. (Honours), Simon Fraser University, 1998 M.A., Simon Fraser University, 2003  THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULLFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF LIBRARY A N D INFORMATION STUDIES  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 2007 © Baharak Yousef i, 2007  11  Abstract Social tagging, the activity and process by which users add descriptive tags to shared, digital content, is a socio-politically significant form of indexing. Adding social software to library OPACs challenges the legitimacy of traditional indexing languages and can enhance the information literacy - the ability to seek, find, and evaluate information - of library patrons, rendering social tagging a matter of import in the pursuit of critical librarianship. This thesis uses Sidney Tarrow's (1994) four basic properties of social movements - collective challenge, common purpose, solidarity, and sustaining collective action - to present social tagging as a social movement. It argues in favour of adopting an anarchist, and specifically Kropotkinist, paradigm for the future study, development, and implementation of social tagging. Most significantly, social tagging is carried out from the bottom upwards by means of patron contributions and not from the top downwards by means of authoritative rule. By choosing an anarchist paradigm, librarians and LIS scholars can make certain that social tagging continues to be maintained, developed, and studied as an anarchist social movement.  iii  Table of Contents Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  ;  List of Figures  iii iv  Acknowledgements  v  CHAPTER I  O n Critical Librarianship: A n Introduction  1  C H A P T E R II  Tag, K e y w o r d , Graffito, Indexing T e r m , Metadata, Literature R e v i e w  7  Introduction Social Tagging: Definitions and Advantages Social Tagging: A Critical A n a l y s i s The Socio-political U t i l i t y of Social T a g g i n g C H A P T E R III  The N e w O r d e r of Social Tagging  The Radicalization of Indexing Social T a g g i n g as a Social M o v e m e n t Conclusion C H A P T E R IV  The Structure of an A n a r c h i s t P a r a d i g m  Introduction Paradigm - Kuhnian P a r a d i g m - Anarchist - K r o p o t k i n i s t Conclusion CHAPTER V Bibliography  N o w W e C a n D o B i g Things for Love: A n E p i l o g u e  7 8 14 20 24 24 34 49 51 51 52 58 74 76 81  iv  List of Figures Figure 1.1  Figure 2.1  Social Tagging o n L i b r a r y O P A C s as a Type of Indexing a n d a Social M o v e m e n t  5  L i b r a r y T h i n g Tag C l o u d  9  Acknowledgements I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the members of my supervisory committee for their patient guidance. I am indebted to Dr. Joseph Tennis, humbled by the anarchists and librarians in my life, and grateful for my lifetime membership on Library Thing.  1  Chapter One On Critical Librarianship: An Introduction  The world has not to be put in order: the world is order incarnate. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order, to know what is the world order in contradistinction to the wishful-thinking orders which we seek to impose on one another. The power which we long to possess, in order to establish the good, the true and the beautiful, would prove to be, if we could have it, but the means of destroying one another. -HenryMiller (1939, 33)  Critical librarianship refers to the position of being cognizant and involved in the social and political responsibilities inherent within the profession. Librarians help patrons find information. Seeking, finding, and evaluating information - information literacy - is a socio-political skill because access to information enables socio-political organization (Andersen, 2006). Knowledge organization - the lifeblood of librarianship - and individuals' ability to organize are intimately related. Librarianship is, therefore, not a sociopolitically neutral profession (Samek, 1998). As part of their core set of values, The Canadian Library Association states: "effective advocacy is based upon understanding the social, cultural, political and historical contexts in which libraries and information services function" (CLA, n.d.). This thesis is a contribution to critical librarianship. The nature of librarianship as a sociopolitical endeavor confers equal responsibility on both scholars and professionals  2  in this field. It necessitates proactive participation i n matters and occasions of social, cultural a n d political significance. The emergence of W e b 2.0 technologies a n d tagging is one such occasion. T a g g i n g is the process of labeling online content (Rainie, 2007). S h a r i n g one's personal tags w i t h other users is social tagging. The process of social tagging allows users to organize information intentionally, capriciously, a n d ideologically. It grants users the p o w e r to name. It is i n this very act of bestowal a n d practice of p o w e r that I a m most interested i n . In its broadest sense, social tagging is a social movement a n d a quintessentially postmodern archetype. A s an instrument of socio-political commentary and participation, social tagging has made the construction of meaning an inclusive a n d emergent pastime. In L i b r a r y a n d Information Science, it is an atypical form of i n d e x i n g . It is a n alternative representation of reality - one w r o u g h t b y those experiencing it. If traditional i n d e x i n g languages are authoritative, theoretical representations of the w o r l d according to classificationists, social tagging is "a classic example of bottom-up b u i l d i n g of categories instead of t o p - d o w n i m p o s i t i o n of categories" (Rainie, 2007). N a t i o n a l Information Standards Organization's (NISO) " G u i d e l i n e s for the Construction, Format, a n d Management of M o n o l i n g u a l Vocabularies" defines i n d e x i n g a n d i n d e x i n g languages as follows: Indexing - A method b y w h i c h terms or subject headings from a controlled vocabulary are selected by a h u m a n or computer to represent the concepts  3 in or attributes of a content object. The terms may or may not occur in the content object.  1  Indexing language - A controlled vocabulary or classification system and the rules for its application. A n indexing language is used for the representation of concepts dealt with in documents [content objects] and for retrieval of such documents [content objects] from an information storage and retrieval system (ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005, p. 6).  We are witnessing the beginnings of a revolution in the act of indexing and the construction of indexing languages. Where available, the interpretation and representation of significant characteristics of content objects (Tennis, 2006)  2  in our library systems is being performed by our patrons. Users are logging in and tagging the contents of our catalogues (e.g. http://www.aadl.org/catalog; http://tags.library.upenn.edu/). This contribution to libraries and other social tagging sites has generated a fair amount of excitement; people are participating. As scholars and professionals in this field, understanding the participation of taggers - amateur indexers - should be placed among our professional priorities. The freedom afforded us by lack of physical constraint ought to be harnessed for goals other than meeting the traditional objectives of bibliographic systems. As librarians, we ought to encourage and enable social tagging because, at last, we  This definition of indexing is used throughout this thesis as an example of traditional indexing. Although I do not specifically address other types of indexing such as natural language and free text indexing, the point still remains that until social tagging, indexing has been performed without public participation. Only in social tagging has the power to interpret and represent significant characteristics of content objects (Tennis, 2006) been shared with the end user. This thesis uses Tennis' 2006 definition of indexing to comprehensively define both traditional indexing and social tagging. 1  2  4  can - the digital library has no shelves. We are able to address the discordance between how the world has been thus organized and how it is seen and experienced by marginalized groups and individuals in our society. It would be negligent to disregard this opportunity: The task for a modern industrial society is to achieve what is now technically realizable, namely, a society which is really based on free voluntary participation of people who produce and create, live their lives freely within institutions they control, and with limited hierarchal structures, possibly none at all (Chomsky, 1991).  In Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, Neil Postman (1993) invites his readers to ask of any new piece of technology: what is the problem to which this technology is the solution? Here, technology is considered pragmatically and towards human needs and not as an end in and of itself. How and what should we think about social tagging? Which of the many questions should we ask? Conceptually speaking, social tagging is of personal and professional interest to disparate groups of people. Though its novelty may not allow retrospection, its magnitude demands careful reflection. Privileging certain aspects and foregoing others, this thesis has explicit epistemic interests in social tagging as a social movement in response to indexing practices currently utilized in libraries. Though closely related, this work is not a study of technology and its place in human culture. The focus is on social tagging as a human phenomenon and not as an example of the transformative powers of the Internet or technology writ large. Human drive for solution finding is an  5  essential ingredient of technology (Ciborra, 2004). In libraries, what is the problem to which social tagging is a solution? This thesis does not assume to describe or capture the multiplicity of ways social tagging may be studied; rather it seeks to establish one possible conceptualization. As outlined in the following diagram we can see the act of indexing comprising social tagging as well as what I have called traditional indexing. The former, social tagging, I set out as a social movement that can admit to an anarchist conceptualization. I argue that this should be established and maintained by participants of critical librarianship. Figure 1.1: Social Tagging on Library O P A C s as a Type of Indexing and a Social Movement (The size of the circles is not significant)  6  The structure of the thesis follows this conceptualization. F o l l o w i n g the second chapter's literature r e v i e w of social tagging, chapters 3 and 4 take the f o l l o w i n g positions: a) the act of i n d e x i n g b y social tagging on library O P A C s is a social movement, a n d b) it is recommended that librarians a n d LIS scholars adopt a n anarchist (Kropotkinist) p a r a d i g m for the future study, development, a n d implementation of social tagging. The fifth a n d c o n c l u d i n g chapter w i l l endeavor to summarize and discuss directions for future research.  7  Chapter Two Tag, Keyword, Graffito, Indexing Term, Metadata, Literature Review  There is a precise line of separation between a nonrevolutionary and revolutionary situation. In a nonrevolutionary situation, one can solve the pressing immediate problems while postponing the big key problems; in a revolutionary situation, this strategy no longer works and one has to tackle the Big Problem in order to even solve the "small" pressing ones. - Slavoj Zizek (2006, 380)  Introduction At this stage in the study of social tagging, we would do well to emphasize its shifting and emergent nature, rather than to attempt a comprehensive characterization. Like its subject, the material currently available on the topic of social tagging is amorphous: journal articles, web publications, conference presentations, podcasts, blog entries, listserv contributions, etc. Their form does not and should not discount their merit. This topic is being written about, and belongs to the masses rather than a select group of researchers. The literature is ever changing, "largely opinion-based" (Speller, 2007) and almost entirely published online. There are enthusiasts (Kroski, 2005; Shirky, 2005; Sterling, 2007) and naysayers (Blood, 2005; Lawley, 2005). There are spectators, soothsayers, and those calling for contextualization and politicization (Quintarelli, 2005). All and all, there is little doubt that social tagging sites such  8  as LibraryThing (http://www.librarything.com/), Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/), Connotea (http://www.connotea.org/), and Del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us/) are growing in popularity. They have a combined user base of several million subscribers and new social tagging sites and novice users are being added everyday (Winget, 2006). Though the literature covers a wider range of social tagging sites than those belonging to libraries such as A n n Arbor District Library's O P A C (http://www.aadl.org/catalog) and University of Pennsylvania's Penntags enabled catalogue (http://tags.library.upenn.edu/), the findings are applicable to the library environment, and where possible, this review's focus will be on social tagging software and their utilization in library systems. In reviewing the current literature on social tagging, several questions are addressed: What is social tagging? What are the advantages and disadvantages of social tagging? In what ways is social tagging a politically useful tool?  Social Tagging: Definitions and Advantages Social tagging describes the activity and process by which users add descriptive tags to shared, digital content. Social tagging is different from other forms of indexing in two significant ways: the tags are shared, and users and not professional cataloguers, indexers or authors add the metadata. Tagging or labeling digital content is not a new phenomenon. People have been labeling and naming their personal files and bookmarking their favorite websites for  some time (Bruce, Jones & D u m a i s , 2004). These organizational strategies have served the function of f i n d i n g and re-finding digital contents for personal use. Social tagging makes users' personal tags publicly available. These contributions result i n a particular type of i n d e x i n g language referred to by a variety of names: folksonomies (Vander W a l , 2004), ethnoclassification schemes, folk classification schemes, social classification schemes a n d distributed classification systems (Speller, 2007). Folksonomies utilize tag clouds for d i s p l a y p u r p o s e s .  3  Tag  clouds or weighted lists, as they are referred to i n the field of v i s u a l design, are v i s u a l l y effective depictions of assigned tags. C o m m o n l y , the m o r e often a tag is used, the larger its size i n a tag c l o u d (Kroski, 2005). Figure 1.1 is a tag c l o u d from m y personal library o n L i b r a r yT h i n g . A s illustrated by the c l o u d , the " F i c t i o n " tag is the most frequently used tag, f o l l o w e d by "Feminist Studies".  Figure 2.1: LibraryThing Tag Cloud  Mjii.il**,« « * | iltHkl  11  *•*•> '*«<«*  L i f c »21L!*' mm  mmm i m  • up **** ** Hnmnt  An»umt SSUOMTS tttfWMMN Art A**»O  Book  imflBphltl Biography Comic Book  Cookery & Entertainment Essays Evolution Feminist Studies F i c t i o n History & Culture Knowledge organization ungMp ysHw*  Memoir * * & MytMop Philosophy W*y» Poetry MNoi Pretty  Pictures  Psychology Reference Sex Travel  3  For the sake of consistency, I w i l l use "folkosonomy" throughout this thesis.  10 Social tagging allows for inclusive participation in the construction of indexing terms; it offers flexibility (Kroski, 2005). As demonstrated in Figure 1.1, the books that I have tagged "Myth and Mythology", for example, include religious texts. This is an idiosyncratic way of classifying, which other Library Thing taggers may or may not share with me. Fluidity and flexibility become particularly significant when certain concepts are not otherwise represented in traditional indexing languages. The term "queer", for example, was first used in the 1920s as a derogatory term referring to homosexual men (Allen, 1999). Over the course of the 20 century, however, its usage changed th  significantly, becoming an antonym of normative heterosexuality (O'Rourke, 2005) and gaining emphasis in activism (i.e. queer rights) and scholarship (i.e. queer theory). Clay Shirky (2005) writes: Look for the word "queer" in almost any top-level categorization. You will not find it, even though, as an organizing principle for a large group of people, that word matters enormously. Users don't get to participate [in] those kinds of discussions around traditional categorization schemes, but with tagging, anyone is free to use the words he or she thinks are appropriate....  With flexibility comes inclusivity. Issues surrounding the digital divide aside, "metadata is now in the realm of everyman" (Kroski, 2005). Expert indexers and 4  cataloguers have lost the monopoly on determining the organizational needs of  Digital divide refers to the gap between those who have access to and benefit from digital technology and those who do not (Digital divide: What it is and why it matters, n.d.)  4  11  the public. S i m p l y put, the more people participate i n k n o w l e d g e organization, the more v a r i e d and inclusive the categories become. S t u d y of tagging habits and tag distribution ( G u y & T o n k i n 2006; T o n k i n , 2006) found that few tags are used often w h i l e the majority of tags are seldom used. There are no attempts to r i d folksonomies of the seldom-used tags - the L o n g Tail (Anderson, 2006), a l l o w i n g for the inclusive representation of minority interests. K r o s k i (2005) sees the L o n g T a i l distribution as evidence that "folksonomies include everyone's vocabulary a n d reflect everyone's needs w i t h o u t cultural, social, or political bias." W h e n combined, the infrequently used tags may even outnumber the p o p u l a r ones. A certain level of socio-political significance may be attached to the representation of the non-mainstream tags - a topic discussed u n d e r the h e a d i n g of socio-political utility later i n this chapter. C u r r e n c y is another advantage of social tagging. D i g i t a l tags m a y be created as q u i c k l y as digital content. Being adaptive to changing vocabularies and emerging content has been recognized as especially useful i n the field of technology a n d the "blogosphere", but also more broadly relevant (Speller, 2007). That meaning is referential, context-dependent, a n d changeable, makes currency not only useful, but also necessary. A s definitions change over time, so can associations between them. Folksonomies a l l o w for an e v o l v i n g flexibility a n d serendipity i n b r o w s i n g not offered by traditional i n d e x i n g languages. In theory, tag connections and discoveries may be made i n real time. A s t w o p r e v i o u s l y unassociated concepts become l i n k e d i n the "real w o r l d , " cyber space  12 may be updated to reflect a n d i n f o r m almost immediately. Bruce Sterling (2007) writes about folksonomy: It offers dirt-cheap, machine-assisted herd behavior; c o m m o n w i s d o m squared; a stampede towards the water holes of semantics. There is r o o m for scholarly smarts i n this approach - for instance, y o u might invent a really cool term like folksonomy - but mostly it's a new w a y to crowd-surf. It's as though y o u threw a kayak into a m o s h pit a n d g l i d e d not just through W e b pages but through labels, concepts, a n d ideas, too.  T h e above quote emphasizes financial possibilities, but also, to some extent, serendipitous a n d artistic potential of social tagging. This particular advantage is elusive a n d especially subjective. W h a t emerging patterns of k n o w l e d g e organization w i l l w e be witness to, and w i l l they be unusual, unexpected, a n d beautiful? Social tagging is associated w i t h a certain sense of romantic chaos a n d unpredictability, w h i c h can be interesting as fodder for future discussions. C u r r e n t l y , social tagging is used far more extensively outside of the library, a n d the literature is reflective of this trend. W h a t are the i m p l i e d advantages of u t i l i z i n g social tagging i n library environments? W i n g e t argues: "not o n l y does user-defined metadata give the L i b r a r y a n d Information Science c o m m u n i t y the opportunity to augment a n d refine our existing classification methods a n d schemes to be more user friendly, this method of description might also a l l o w for an enhanced h u m a n information interaction experience" (2006,15). G i v i n g users the ability to shape a n d influence the data w i t h w h i c h they interact enhances the human-information interaction experience (Winget, 2006). A c t i v e  13 participation on the part of the user, together with immediate feedback mechanisms (e.g. tag clouds and the ability to view and connect with other users with similar tags and interests) make for enhanced levels of interactive experience. Furthermore, chance discoveries may be made through exploring related tags, which may have otherwise been separated in traditional indexing languages (Speller, 2007). For example, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A FeministVegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams (1990) is listed under the subjects: animal welfare, vegetarianism - social aspects, patriarchy, and feminist criticism in the Vancouver Public Library's OP A C . The provided list captures the main themes of the book. It does not, however, inform the user about an area of study, which brings together the formerly disparate areas of feminism and environmentalism: ecofeminism. If the O P A C of the Vancouver Public Library allowed for social tagging, the "ecofeminism" tag could be easily added thus allowing for the possibility of chance discovery of this relatively new concept. The patron could then explore "ecofeminism" using traditional subject headings or tags. Winget (2006) suggests that the desire to participate in and benefit from the social aspects of tagging has an effect on users' tagging behaviour. O n Flickr, for example, users seem to adhere to a certain set of unspoken conventions, especially if they are interested in their pictures being found by other members and included in tag sets. Users tend to use multiple tags, provide geographical descriptors of their photos, and when appropriate, use multiple spellings and  14 abbreviations (Winget, 2006). Lack of explicit guidelines and instructions, therefore, does not preclude the observation of unwritten rules and standards. Postmodern political philosopher, Slavoj Zizek (n.d.), describes the w e i g h t a n d p o w e r of u n s p o k e n rules i n the maintenance and p r o m o t i o n of ideology a n d desired order: A n d is this not h o w i d e o l o g y w o r k s ? The explicit ideological text (or practice) is sustained by the " u n p l a y e d " series of obscene superego supplement... the explicit ideology of socialist democracy was sustained by a set of implicit (unspoken) obscene injunctions a n d prohibitions, teaching the subject h o w not to take explicit norms seriously a n d h o w to i m p l e m e n t a set of p u b l i c l y u n a c k n o w l e d g e d prohibitions.  Social Tagging: A Critical Analysis S i m p l y put, the m a i n criticisms of social tagging are that tags are not " g o o d " enough. F o r a m y r i a d of reasons, tags assigned b y the p u b l i c may not be what the critic a n d the professional w o u l d have assigned. The f o l l o w i n g points are samples of criticisms. Users m a y "try to game the system" (Lawley, 2005) by deliberate mistagging of content. T a g g i n g gives "free reign to sloppiness" (Mejias, 2005). F o r example, tags can be misspelled or inconsistently assigned. S y n o n y m s and h o m o n y m s are not controlled (Speller, 2007). Tags can be offensive to other users (Blood, 2005). In terms of i n d e x i n g terms, there is little overlap between tagging and traditional content i n d e x i n g languages such as the M e d i c a l Subject H e a d i n g (MeSH) thesaurus (Lin, Beaudoin, B u i , & Dasai, 2006). Folksonomies are not particularly useful for f i n d i n g specific, accurate  15 information, but as Bruce Sterling (2007) argues "that's beside the point." Critics of social tagging ask the wrong questions and confuse the purpose of tags. Imagine, for example, that up until a year ago, the only types of shoes we were familiar with were comfortable walking and running shoes. Now, imagine a designer introducing a line of patent leather women's shoes with six-inch stiletto heels. To argue that these shoes would not make comfortable for walking and running would be nonsensical. To criticize a technology for not doing what it is not designed to do is a similar misdiagnosis. What, then, is the purpose of folksonomies? This is an important and necessary question with many emerging answers. Any given information system is designed with the purpose of satisfying one or a set of objectives. The purpose of something is its intention. Questions relating to purpose are best asked using the adverb "why." For example, "why are you peeling an orange?" or "why was Connotea created?" In asking such questions, you are inquiring about someone's or something's purpose - their intentions. In her text The Intellectual Foundations of Information Organization, Elaine Svenonius (2000) explores and emphasizes the importance of a full understanding of the objectives as the first step in the design and construction of any and all bibliographic systems. She states that purpose should determine ontology and not vice versa (2000).  5  It is, therefore, not  The exact phrasing is as follows: "In the design of a database objectives should determine ontology and not vice versa, since for any given set of objectives, alternative models can be developed for alternative purposes" (Svenonius, 2000,18). Given an earlier assertion that purpose is "the objectives to be achieved by a system for organizing information" (2000,1), I have used purpose and objective interchangeably. 5  16  feasible to evaluate something w i t h o u t understanding its objectives. A c c o r d i n g to Svenonius, the f o l l o w i n g five functions are the objectives of a full-featured bibliographic system: finding, collocating, choosing, acquiring, a n d navigating. T h i s list cannot be used to evaluate a n d criticize social tagging systems. W e must h o l d these systems accountable to a different set of criteria: one w h i c h is i n line w i t h their stated (and otherwise ascertained) purposes. P r i o r to discussing what folksonomies are designed to do, let us be clear that there is no evidence or c l a i m that they have been designed to replace traditional i n d e x i n g languages. It is, therefore, not necessary to make tags behave l i k e controlled vocabularies a n d folksonomies behave like k n o w n i n d e x i n g languages, because though they m a y complement each other, their purposes are different. The p r o b l e m of single-design focus i n Library and Information Science is addressed b y G o o d a n d Tennis: There are differences here, differences that shed light o n the nature of these initiatives [information organization frameworks]. Yet, not everyone i n the Information Sciences sees information organization as a diverse set of approaches. Some c l a i m that folksonomies are n o t h i n g n e w or that they are nascent structures o n a n inevitably teleological p a t h t o w a r d discovering authority control (2007, 2).  G o o d a n d Tennis (2007) studied the purpose, w o r k practice, and structure of t w o example systems, Connotea ( h t t p : / / w w w . c o n n o t e a . o r g / ) a n d M E D L I N E ( h t t p : / / m e d l i n e . c o s . c o m / ) to illustrate the intentional differences between the t w o systems. Connotea, a social tagging site w i t h the intended audience of  17 scientists, has as their motto: "Organize, Share, Discover." M E D L I N E , an indexing system and bibliographic database that utilizes the Medical Subject Headings thesaurus, strives "to enable search retrieval by eliminating (or accounting for) the use of variant terminology for the same concept" (Good & Tennis, 2007, 3). I will review the "purpose" part of their discussion and findings here. The authors used a list of six different purposes as comparison points between Connotea and MEDLINE, and found that they overlapped on only one purpose - finding. Connotea's list of objectives also included management of personal collections, sharing of resources among peers, and interaction with the information organization system (e.g. tagging), while MEDLINE, along with the finding objective, listed collocation of resources and retrieval through precision and recall. Looking back at criticisms of social tagging discussed earlier, sloppiness and inconsistent tagging (Mejias, 2005), uncontrolled synonyms and homonyms (Speller, 2007), and little overlap between folksonomies and indexing languages such as MeSH terms (Lin, Beaudoin, Bui, & Dasai, 2006) are all related to two objectives, which Good and Tennis (2007) list as belonging to the traditional indexing as opposed to social tagging systems: namely collocation and high degrees of precision and recall in retrieval. As Good and Tennis (2007) demonstrate, there is something fundamental to be gained from studying the surrounding discourse of these information organization frameworks. However, an empirical investigation of taggers'  18 motivations w o u l d also a d d to this discussion of purpose and i n f o r m future design objectives. A s systems, w h i c h rely entirely o n user participation, the users' objectives must m i r r o r that of the creators and, b y extension, the information organization framework. These are not detached, independent systems, w h i c h w o u l d function w i t h o u t the input of their users. A l t h o u g h it is important to study the objectives of the creator (and the systems), it is necessary, in the l o n g r u n , to ensure that users' objectives are also being met. The theoretical w o r k presented on user a n d motivations offer the f o l l o w i n g as possible incentives: future retrieval, contribution and sharing, attention, p l a y and competition, self-presentation, and o p i n i o n expression ( M a r l o w , N a a m a n , b o y d , & D a v i s , 2006). The data seems to be largely gathered through the examination of systems a n d tags as opposed to direct user studies such as interviews or questionnaires. T h i s gap i n empirical research and scholarship w i l l be further addressed i n the c o n c l u d i n g chapter of this thesis. T o summarize, the research a n d findings o n h o w social tagging and folksonomies w o r k is v a r i e d a n d emergent. The f o l l o w i n g paragraphs w i l l address the question of w h y , ideologically speaking, social tagging and folksonomies may be of value to our library systems. T h u s far, the critical issues discussed i n this chapter have been more p r o c e d u r a l than ideological. O n e of the topics, w h i c h was discussed as a n advantage of social tagging is the flexibility w h i c h folksonomies afford k n o w l e d g e organization i n general. The fact that users have the capacity to  19  organize a n d categorize according to their o w n purposes and beliefs is sociopolitically significant a n d w i l l be discussed further i n the f o l l o w i n g section. H o w e v e r , critics may resist and c o n d e m n these same freedoms o n ideological grounds. T o protest against p u b l i c l y assigned tags is to question the p h i l o s o p h y of social tagging at a very basic level. For example, one critic described being personally offended by a photo o n Flickr, w h i c h was tagged M L K ( M a r t i n L u t h e r King): Unfortunately, for a few hours this m o r n i n g the most recent tagged photo under M L K was a picture of a protester's sign that read "Setting aside our differences to focus o n our c o m m o n goals: peace, love, harmony, k i l l i n g Jews, and tolerance." N i c e . N o w , that photo is perfectly appropriate on F l i c k r as part of an i n d i v i d u a l ' s collection, and as documentation of Sunday's rally. It's perfectly appropriate as an illustration for "protests", or even "Israel" and "Palestine", even though it surely w i l l offend some people wherever it appears. But it is not appropriate to illustrate a category tagged " M L K " . I was personally offended - these sentiments reflect the polar opposite to those espoused by D r . K i n g (Blood, 2005).  To engage i n debate about the offensiveness or "appropriateness" (read "truth") of certain tags is to undermine the conceptual foundations of social tagging. The point of social tagging is for i n d i v i d u a l s to have their say w i t h o u t interference a n d censorship of any k i n d . This freedom forms the basis for the socio-political potential a n d efficacy of social tagging.  20  The Socio-political Utility of Social Tagging The freedom of library patrons to interpret and represent content objects according to their points of v i e w is social tagging's p r i n c i p a l ideological a n d socio-political contribution. In the previous section, it was established that finding, management of personal collections, sharing of resources a m o n g peers, a n d interaction w i t h the information organization system were four purposes of social tagging systems (Good & Tennis, 2007). It was also argued that social tagging a n d folksonomies are not to be thought of as substitutions for traditional i n d e x i n g w o r k performed by professionals a n d i n d e x i n g languages p r o d u c e d by them. Social tagging software may be a d d e d to already existing classificatory structures on online public access catalogues of libraries to enhance rather than replace the already offered services. T h o u g h management of personal collections, sharing of resources, a n d the ability to interact w i t h information organization systems are a l l interesting additions to online p u b l i c access catalogues, they are not ends i n and of themselves, but rather means towards w h a t I see as the greater, more significant, a n d critical purpose of patron participation i n indexing. N o w that w e have the technological capabilities to a l l o w for p u b l i c participation, w e must ensure its implementation. A s I argue, our current i n d e x i n g languages are arbitrarily selected and ideologically flawed, but as they are the o n l y systems w e currently have that meet the objectives of full-featured bibliographic systems such as collocation a n d precision a n d recall i n retrieval (Svenonius, 2000), then w e must content ourselves w i t h s u p p l e m e n t i n g  21 as opposed to s u p p l a n t i n g our current classification schemes a n d i n d e x i n g languages.  6  Folksonomies p r o v i d e alternative access to traditionally organized  materials. M o r e importantly, however, they are the o n l y available access p o i n t for alternative materials that are not accessible through or h i d d e n b y traditional i n d e x i n g languages (Quintarelli, 2005). The most socio-politically important feature of folksonomies is that they are inclusive: They include everyone's w o r d s a n d vocabulary w i t h o u t leaving a n y t h i n g out. There is no central authority i m p o s i n g a t o p - d o w n v i e w , a n d every voice gains its space. This aspect that the power l a w trend i m p l y that b y u s i n g folksonomies, w e can also discover l o n g tail topics: original, n o n mainstream ideas can emerge from the interest of a small fraction of the p o p u l a t i o n to the attention of the mass (Quintarelli, 2005,11).  Folksonomies are manifestations of user-generated aggregation of information, w h i c h a l l o w taggers to reclassify a n d regroup according to their o w n needs a n d belief systems. They are inclusive, rather than authoritative. A second espoused socio-political advantage of folksonomies is their flat rather than hierarchical structure (Quintarelli, 2005). T h o u g h this is true i n some folksonomies, it is not necessarily the case i n a l l of them. Hierarchies can and do c o m m o n l y exist w i t h i n folksonomies (Koine, 2005; T o n k i n , 2006; Voss, 2006): Decades of research into h u m a n cognition and categorization activities have f o u n d that categorization is a fundamental h u m a n cognitive activity,  6  A detailed discussion of this topic w i l l be p r o v i d e d i n the third chapter of this  thesis.  22 examples of category systems exist across cultural and lingual differences, and they share numerous traits including hierarchical organization (Kome, 2005, 2).  Socio-politically speaking, the advantage of folksonomies is ideological and not structural. The discovery and existence of hierarchies within folksonomies does not discount the fact that they are non-authoritative. Here, then, "bottom-up classification" does not refer to the classiiicatory structures, rather the way in which the folksonomies - hierarchical or not - come to be. Having a nonhierarchical classificatory structure is a fortuitous rather than essential characteristic of folksonomies. What is important is that folksonomies allow users to be active participants in the comprehension and organization of information: "It comes down ultimately to a question of philosophy. Does the world make sense or do we make sense of the world?" (Shirky, 2005). Traditional classification structures imply that the world makes sense. Users' understanding of a given piece of information must, therefore, be reconciled and altered to reflect that of classificationists. Folksonomies, on the other hand, allow their users to make sense of the world. They do not privilege "one top level of sense-making over the other" (Shirky, 2005). Social tagging is a step towards leveling the playing field of knowledge organization; performed by taggers, it has allowed the users of these information systems the possibility of utilizing non-authoritative folksonomies alongside traditional, authoritative indexing languages. In his 1994 text, Power in Movement: Social Movements, Collective  23 Action and Politics, Sidney T a r r o w presents the anatomy of a social movement: collective challenge, c o m m o n purpose, solidarity, and sustaining collective action. In the f o l l o w i n g chapter, I argue for the conceptualization of social tagging as a social movement g i v e n T a r r o w ' s four constructs. The proposition to a l i g n the characteristics of social tagging w i t h that of social movements highlights the socio-political potential of social tagging and is, therefore, w e l l suited to the aspirations of critical librarianship discussed i n the introductory chapter of this thesis.  24  Chapter Three T h e N e w O r d e r of S o c i a l T a g g i n g  The organization of the world is a task for realists. The poet and the workman will always be victims of power and interest. The world will ever be run by a mystic idea, because by the time it begins to function it ceases to be mystical... The realist always conquers the poetic as the human. Interest wins out. - Anais Nin (1936, 1995 ed. 341-342)  T h e R a d i c a l i z a t i o n of I n d e x i n g Social tagging is a specific kind of indexing (Tennis, 2006); given content objects such as books, websites, or photographs, taggers interpret the objects and use tags to represent them in information systems such as online public access catalogues (OPACs) of libraries, and social tagging websites such as Del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us/) and Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/). Even though social tagging is a type of indexing, it has transformed it significantly. How has this seemingly simple act of tagging content on the open Web revolutionized indexing? How are folksonomies radically different from other forms of known indexing languages? To begin, knowledge organization, as embodied by social tagging, is no longer limited by physical constraints. As far as taggers are concerned, content objects need not be represented in one place only. The digital organization of content objects allows indexers previously nonexistent freedoms. To use Anais Nin's characterizations, realism and poeticism can coexist; the  25 w o r l d m a y be mystically organized. W h a t is more, this act of i n d e x i n g performed b y taggers has liberated the users of these information systems from h a v i n g to contend w i t h a single, authoritative i n d e x i n g language. Weinberger calls this progression the " t h i r d order of order" (2007,19), w i t h the first a n d second orders of order being the physical organization of items (i.e. on shelves) a n d their representation i n information systems (i.e. library catalogues) respectively. In libraries, catalogues separate the information about the items from the items themselves, w h i l e p o i n t i n g to the physical space w h e r e they have been stored. Weinberger (2007, 22) argues: "Second order organization, it turns out, is often as m u c h about authority as about m a k i n g things easier to find." The w a y i n w h i c h items are interpreted a n d represented is dependant o n whose w o r l d v i e w has prevailed: Classification is a p o w e r struggle - it is political - because the first t w o orders of order require that there be a w i n n e r . The third order takes the territory subjugated by classification a n d liberates it. Instead of forcing it into categories, it tags it (Weinberger, 2007, 91-92, emphasis original).  Weinberger's (2007) third order organization (social tagging) has changed the w a y s i n w h i c h w e think about i n d e x i n g i n general but also, a n d more importantly, it has given us the tools to counterbalance the w o r l d v i e w s a n d limitations i m p o s e d by the authority of classificationists: A s D e w e y ' s biographer W a y n e A . W i e g a n d writes, the organization of k n o w l e d g e D e w e y p r o d u c e d solidified " a w o r l d v i e w and k n o w l e d g e structure taught o n the A m h e r s t College campus between 1870-1875" - a  26 w o r l d v i e w and structure that assumed the West was the most advanced culture a n d that Christianity l a i d the foundations of truth (Weinberger, 2007, 53).  T h o u g h w e may have always k n o w n a n d understood these limitations, w e have lacked the capabilities to w o r k a r o u n d them. Once the exclusive d o m a i n of professional indexers, establishing "aboutness," to use i n d e x i n g parlance, is n o w also carried out by taggers. In library indexing, the choice between traditional i n d e x i n g languages a n d folksonomies (Weinberger's second a n d t h i r d order organizations) need not be m u t u a l l y exclusive. Social tagging is qualitatively different; it has a separate purpose. In the second chapter of this thesis a set of four purposes of social tagging was offered: finding, management of personal collections, sharing of resources a m o n g peers, and interaction w i t h the information organization system (i.e. tagging) ( G o o d & Tennis, 2007). I further argued that the freedom of library patrons to interpret a n d represent content objects i n accordance w i t h their points of v i e w is social tagging's p r i n c i p a l ideological a n d socio-political contribution. W i t h m u l t i p l e i n d e x i n g contributions from taggers comes enhanced alternative access to content objects. For example, the book Henry and June: From A Journal of Love: the Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin has the f o l l o w i n g subjects listed i n the Vancouver Public Library's O P A C : •  Nin, Anais, 1903-1977 - Diaries.  •  Miller, Henry, 1891- relations with women - Anais Nin.  •  Authors, American - 20 Century - Diaries. th  27 These access points serve the needs of some patrons some of the time. They d o not, however, represent the book to everyone's satisfaction - they never can. I, for example, w o u l d a d d "feminism", "erotica", a n d "June M a n s f i e l d M i l l e r " as tags for this particular book, h i g h l i g h t i n g otherwise i g n o r e d or h i d d e n aspects of the document. E v e n w i t h those a d d e d tags, the document can still be i n d e x e d further to a different person's or group's satisfaction. The point here is that the more people have the opportunity to tag this particular book, the more aspects of the book w i l l be represented. M o r e index terms a d d e d by the l i b r a r y ' s patrons are b o u n d to represent additional points of v i e w . N o t only w o u l d Henry and June: From A journal of Love: the Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin be more fully i n d e x e d - a n d thus, one c o u l d argue, the representation w o u l d be more faithful to the m u l t i t u d e of relationships between the document a n d its readers - but it c o u l d also be accessed using a larger variety of search terms. Let us, for example, imagine that I, as a user of the V a n c o u v e r Public L i b r a r y system, have just recently read about June M a n s f i e l d M i l l e r i n a book called Twilight Years: Paris in the 1930s (Wiser, 2001). I have learnt that she was H e n r y M i l l e r ' s second wife a n d his inspiration for the character " M o n a " i n M i l l e r ' s 1934 novel, Tropic of Cancer. I also learnt that she attempted, but failed to destroy M i l l e r ' s manuscript of Tropic of Cancer before it was published. She was a taxi dancer, a n d a w o m a n w i t h " a neck out of a M o d i g l i a n i p a i n t i n g " (Wiser, 2001,182).  7  I a m fascinated  by this w o m a n a n d w o u l d like to read more about her. Unfortunately, I f i n d it  7  A taxi dancer is a paid, professional dance partner.  28 difficult to f i n d documents about June M a n s f i e l d M i l l e r u s i n g the V a n c o u v e r P u b l i c L i b r a r y ' s catalogue. I try several search strategies: •  K e y w o r d A n y w h e r e : June Miller  •  K e y w o r d A n y w h e r e : June Mansfield  •  Subject Browse: Miller, June  •  Subject Browse: Mansfield, June  •  Subject Browse: Miller, Henry, 1891 - relations with women  N o n e of m y conducted searches result i n documents containing i n f o r m a t i o n about June Mansfield M i l l e r . A t the end, I remain unaware of Anai's N i n ' s Henry and June: From A Journal of Love: the Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, even t h o u g h the title character is the same June M a n s f i e l d M i l l e r I have been searching for. It is not possible for professional indexers to h i g h l i g h t every aspect of every content object. It is however possible, w i t h social tagging, to a l l o w space for interpretation a n d representation by others w h o d o not n o r m a l l y participate i n this process. Tags a d d e d to records i n library catalogues w o u l d a l l o w patrons to seek, find, a n d evaluate information from alternative v i e w p o i n t s , u s i n g alternative paths. These points of v i e w w i l l , i n some cases, d r a w attention to aspects of content objects that are intentionally or unintentionally h i d d e n by the particular i n d e x i n g language being used. Therefore, social tagging w o u l d enhance the information literacy of our patrons. A s discussed p r e v i o u s l y , information literacy is a socio-political s k i l l (Andersen, 2006). W h e n u t i l i z e d i n O n l i n e P u b l i c Access Catalogues of libraries, social tagging w o u l d enhance our patrons' socio-political s k i l l sets:  29 Social organization matters as the w a y documents and k n o w l e d g e are o r g a n i z e d i n society is a reproduction of the social and ideological organization of society. But it is not a passive reproduction. The organization of documents and k n o w l e d g e i n society also shape society's social a n d ideological organization (Andersen, 2006, 222).  Society's social a n d ideological organizations, as reflected b y w a y s i n w h i c h k n o w l e d g e is organized, privilege certain groups and oppress others. For example, evidence of patriarchal bias i n library classification schemes is w e l l documented (Olson, 2002; Foskett, 1971; Berman, 1984; Palmer & M a l o n e , 2001). In Power to Name: Locating the Limits of Subject Representation in Libraries, O l s o n (2002, 9) summarizes a n extensive b o d y of research conducted o n the existence of sexism i n the L i b r a r y of Congress Subject Headings, D e w e y D e c i m a l Classification, and Cutter Expansive Classification, and presents three general findings: they treat w o m e n as exceptions to a masculine n o r m ; they ghettoize w o m e n ' s issues b y separating them from the rest of knowledge; or they omit w o m e n ' s issues altogether. O l s o n (2002) further invokes the m y t h of Procrustes, the b r i g a n d " w h o possessed a hammer, a saw and a bed. H e c o m p e l l e d travelers to lie on the bed, and those w h o were too l o n g for it he w o u l d cut d o w n to size; those w h o were too short he w o u l d h a m m e r out u n t i l they fit exactly" ( M o r f o r d & L e n a r d o n , 1995, 459). She does so to elucidate the absurdity of the quest of universality pursued by classificationists such as M e l v i l l e D e w e y and Charles Cutter. She maintains that the desire for universality is one of the most significant barriers to effective change i n subject representation and access. "The  30 universal language itself is constructed on principles that marginalize or exclude the a b n o r m a l or unusual deviations - the Other - from the singular p u b l i c ' s n o r m " (Olson, 2002, 80, emphasis a n d capitalization original). T h r o u g h the act of n a m i n g , she argues, librarians select w h a t is represented and w h a t remains u n n a m e d a n d i n d o i n g so, i n v o l v e themselves i n the act of information construction or creation rather than information representation alone: N a m i n g is the act of bestowing a name, of labeling, of creating an identity. It is a means of structuring reality. It imposes a pattern o n the w o r l d that is meaningful to the namer. E a c h of us names reality according to our o w n v i s i o n of the w o r l d built o n past meanings i n our o w n experience. E a c h of us creates our o w n structure through n a m i n g . N a m i n g is, therefore, not a r a n d o m process even though it is varied (2002, 4).  Traditionally, indexers choose from exclusive a n d finite vocabulary to describe the subject content of a document; are l i m i t e d to choosing one a n d only one i n d e x i n g term for each concept, a n d are further constrained b y pre-existing structures that define the relationships between i n d e x i n g terms (Olson, 2002). W h a t does O l s o n recommend w e do? She proposes three principles to guide the development of techniques for change a n d subversion (verbatim): 1.  M a k e breaches i n the limit; make it permeable, rather than defining it or constructing a n e w limit.  2. M a k e spaces, rather than filling them: the spaces are for the other to fill s h o u l d she desire to d o so.  31 3. Be dynamic; address the relevant discourses i n a g i v e n context: they must be reflexive, changing responsively over time a n d space i n the broadest sense (2001, 21, emphasis i n original).  The principles presented by O l s o n (2001) are admittedly nebulous. H o w e v e r , they fit w i t h i n Olson's (2001, 2002) more general plea for inclusion of "the other" i n areas of significant decision-making i n k n o w l e d g e representation. She warns against defining, filling spaces, a n d constructing limits; she asks instead for permeability, allowance of space, and responsive change: Techniques that follow these principles seem risky to library a n d information professionals steeped i n the tradition of the p r e s u m p t i o n of universality i n n a m i n g . The reason for this dis-ease is that m a k i n g space for the voice of the other means that one must r e l i n q u i s h p o w e r to the other - p o w e r of voice, construction, definition. Instead of possessing this p o w e r exclusively, w e w h o are o n the inside of the information structures must create holes i n our structures through w h i c h the p o w e r may leak out. T w o groups of people are obvious others, just o n the other side of the limit: authors and library users (2001, 22, emphasis i n original).  O l s o n (2001) further argues that our discipline of L i b r a r y a n d Information Science has, for some time n o w , been i n v o l v e d i n discussing a n d researching the possibility of m a k i n g information available through the natural language of authors. W h a t is more complicated and, i n this case, far more interesting is the m a k i n g of space for the participation of library users.  O l s o n (2001, 22) imagines  32 paths of a garden where subsequent visitors m a y choose to travel i n the footsteps of others w h o have come before them. She writes: L i b r a r y users w o u l d be a l l o w e d to create paths through indexes a n d catalogues that other users c o u l d then follow as far as they f o u n d them useful or interesting. Instead of the one h a v i n g power, p o w e r c o u l d be taken b y one or the other - accompanied by responsibility" (2001, 22, emphasis i n original).  O l s o n (2001) does not elaborate o n the nature of the responsibility she speaks of, but one can assume that she is referring to the responsibility of the participant w r i t large. N o r does she give specific details about the w a y s i n w h i c h this " g a r d e n " m a y be created other than to speak about "some k i n d of hypertext facility for creating connections betweens items i n a database" (2001, 22). It w o u l d not be unwarrantedly hopeful to argue that the tone a n d language used by O l s o n (2001, 2002) is i n line w i t h current discussions concerning the d e p l o y m e n t of social tagging i n library catalogues (Quintarelli, 2005; Winget, 2006) r e v i e w e d i n the first chapter. Currently, there are no limitations i m p o s e d o n taggers by controlled vocabularies or tag quantities. Taggers can choose their tags freely and use as many tags as they see fit to represent each content object. Furthermore, relationships between content objects are created spontaneously as other taggers use the same tags to represent other content objects. There are no pre-determined structures w i t h i n folksonomies. Unstructured a n d structured i n d e x i n g languages serve different functions. Intentionally disparate from the serendipitously created paths anticipated b y O l s o n (2001), traditional i n d e x i n g  33 languages p r o v i d e a needed service: collocation a n d h i g h degrees of precision a n d recall i n retrieval. The cost of this procedural efficiency is ideological. S u c h i n d e x i n g languages, through the use of controlled vocabularies, w o r k to create a n d maintain the status quo: "These devices function like D N A ; they enable the current system to replicate itself endlessly, easily, a n d painlessly" (Delgado & Stefancic, 1989, 208). Social tagging w o u l d a l l o w us to be cognizant of beaten paths and, insofar as w e may, w o r k a r o u n d them.  8  T o summarize, social tagging has indeed revolutionized i n d e x i n g , and folksonomies are radically different from other forms of k n o w n i n d e x i n g languages. W h a t they have offered does not amount to significant quantitative differences i n interpretation and representation of content objects, such as more efficient results lists. The change is qualitative. A d d i n g social software to library O P A C s a n d enabling social tagging is a socio-politically significant decision, w h i c h challenges the legitimacy of traditional i n d e x i n g languages a n d enhances the information literacy - the ability to seek, find, and evaluate information - of  Tangentially, i n light of Olson's denunciation of universality and sameness as desirable goals, it is important to note that her discussion of the existence of sexism i n library classification schemes is used here as a case i n point a n d not as a catchall illustration of the systematic treatment of other "other" categories (i.e. race, class, sexual orientation) w i t h i n traditional i n d e x i n g languages or classification schemes. U s i n g the existence of sexism to illustrate all other exclusions or misrepresentations w o u l d be a k i n to the process of marginalization i n subject representation, w h i c h w e have thus far condemned. Sexism refers to a very specific form of discrimination. It does not assume other forms of prejudice a n d s h o u l d not be p r i v i l e g e d over them. A n i n d e x i n g language or classification scheme may not be sexist, but still be biased i n other ways. W e w o u l d not w a n t to lie i n our o w n Procrustean bed. 8  34 library patrons, rendering social tagging not only a particular k i n d of i n d e x i n g , but also a type of social movement. L i b r a r y a n d Information Science's conceptualization a n d commitment to the ideological i m p o r t of social tagging is related to the discipline's role as a socio-politically relevant profession a n d field of study.  S o c i a l T a g g i n g as a S o c i a l M o v e m e n t Reasons for an i n d i v i d u a l ' s participation i n social movements are numerous. A m o n g them are group interaction a n d solidarity, personal gain, a n d p r i n c i p l e d , genuine commitment to a cause (Tarrow, 1994). This diverse list of motivators makes it difficult to predict future participation or exercise any meaningful levels of control over the behaviours of current participants. T h o u g h inconsistently secured, people's desire to participate i n collective action does to some degree depend o n social networks, shared cultural understandings, a n d the availability a n d strength of external - often political - opportunities (Tarrow, 1994). W h y d o people engage i n collective action? In the case of social tagging, w h y d o taggers tag? It is important to ask about m o t i v a t i o n because although the result w i l l be a heterogeneous list, it is useful to gain some understanding of the parameters. A r e taggers tagging for personal purposes alone or is the social aspect of social tagging important to them? D o taggers w h o tag o n library O P A C s such as the A n n A r b o r District L i b r a r y ( h t t p : / / w w w . a a d l . o r g / c a t a l o g ) a n d U n i v e r s i t y of Pennsylvania L i b r a r y (http://tags.library.upenn.edu/) d o so  35 because they understand the ideological i m p o r t of their actions, or is d i s t u r b i n g the status quo a n d p r o v i d i n g others w i t h alternative access points an opportune b y p r o d u c t of their actions? A t the time of w r i t i n g this chapter, I a m not aware of any research projects conducted o n taggers' motivations. This is an open research question w i t h significant implications regarding the c o m m o n a l i t y of purpose a n d solidarity i n social tagging as a social movement a n d its viability as a complement to traditional indexing. C u r r e n t l y w e do not k n o w w h y taggers participate i n social tagging a n d once w e ask, it is likely that there w i l l be m a n y different reasons. W i t h that i n m i n d a n d for the time being, the f o l l o w i n g paragraphs w i l l focus o n the fact that taggers are motivated, a n d they do participate, a n d that the results of their participation is socio-politically significant. Whether taggers are tagging content objects i n library catalogues because they are aware of the subversive nature of their actions remains to be studied. W h a t is of note at this time is that their contributions have l a i d bare the inadequacies inherent i n traditional i n d e x i n g languages. U n l i k e traditional i n d e x i n g languages, folksonomies are not restricted by exclusive a n d finite vocabularies a n d structural limitations; rather they are flexible a n d relevant to the needs of taggers w h o create them. Social movements are defined b y contentious collective action a n d their formation occurs w h e n political opportunities arise for social actors w h o , generally speaking, lack them: " M o v e m e n t s , " T a r r o w argues, "are better defined as collective challenges by people with common purposes and solidarity in sustained  36 interaction with elites, opponents, and authorities" (1994, 3-4, emphasis i n original). T h o u g h both contention and collectivity come i n m a n y forms, they are the shared components a m o n g social movements. A t a very basic level, social movements are a group of people m o b i l i z i n g against a more powerful agent. Extreme or violent action, often associated w i t h social movements, is not a necessary part of contention; rather such movements are manifestly contentious because they are the collective's most significant, if not only, recourse against their more dominant adversaries (Tarrow, 1994). The collective aspect of social movements is self-explanatory: the challenges faced affect groups of people rather than i n d i v i d u a l s . In his 1994 text, Power in Movement: Social Movements, Collective Action and Politics, Sidney T a r r o w provides the basic properties of social movements: collective challenge, c o m m o n purpose, solidarity, a n d sustaining collective action. Social tagging, I w i l l argue i n this chapter, meets the criteria presented by T a r r o w (1994) and may be reasonably v i e w e d as a social movement.  Collective  Challenge  Collective challenge is the first of four basic properties of social movements enumerated by T a r r o w (1994). It is an example of collective action m o u n t e d by social movements a n d is characterized by "interrupting, obstructing, or rendering uncertain the activities of others" (Tarrow, 1994, 4). Collective challenges are not the only type of collective action u t i l i z e d by social movements;  37 rather, they are quintessential. Social movement groups e m p l o y disruptive a n d challenging action, as they do not, generally speaking, have access to financial resources a n d socio-political platforms required for other forms collective action, such as l o b b y i n g and negotiation. It can be argued that social tagging is a n example of collective challenge against traditional i n d e x i n g practices. W h e n enabled i n library O P A C s , social tagging has the capacity to interrupt, obstruct, and render uncertain the dominance of t o p - d o w n , authoritative i n d e x i n g languages. W h i c h properties of traditional i n d e x i n g languages make them suitable targets of social tagging as a collective challenge? Social tagging as a particular k i n d of i n d e x i n g is, i n essence, postmodern w h i l e traditional i n d e x i n g and i n d e x i n g languages are based o n a m o d e r n v i e w of the w o r l d . M a i makes the f o l l o w i n g distinction: Classic tradition of classification theory is based o n a m o d e r n v i e w of the w o r l d . This includes the idea that classifications can be a neutral a n d objective m i r r o r of an already there universe of k n o w l e d g e . A p o s t m o d e r n theory of k n o w l e d g e organization rejects this assumption a n d instead places focus on the social praxis a n d the language of the c o m m u n i t y for w h i c h k n o w l e d g e organization is created (1999, 548).  M o d e r n i n d e x i n g languages are assumed to be descriptive a n d objective, whereas postmodern i n d e x i n g regards objectivity a n d neutrality as an unattainable goal. In this context, the point of divergence between m o d e r n i s m a n d p o s t m o d e r n i s m is postmodernism's commitment to the social constructionist v i e w of knowledge. The shift between m o d e r n a n d p o s t m o d e r n  38 perspectives o n i n d e x i n g w o u l d necessarily include a change "from a (intended) reflection of the universe of k n o w l e d g e to a pragmatic tool i n the m e d i a t i o n between author and user" (Mai, 1999, 554, parenthesis original). For postmodernists, then, all i n d e x i n g is w r o n g , but some i n d e x i n g is useful.  9  A postmodern v i e w of i n d e x i n g challenges the objectivity of the practice. It h o l d s that a g i v e n i n d e x i n g language is not a "true" reflection of content objects a n d their relationships to each other rather a particular v i e w of such objects at g i v e n times by g i v e n persons. Folksonomies, as i n d e x i n g languages, are o p e n l y a n d manifestly postmodern a n d confess their social construction. They, therefore, posit a challenge to m o d e r n i n d e x i n g languages. In his 1999 text, The Social Construction of What? Ian H a c k i n g provides a framework of social construction, w h i c h I use here to examine i n d e x i n g languages as socially constructed phenomena. H e further lists six gradations of c o m m i t m e n t w i t h i n the constructionist framework, implicit w i t h i n w h i c h are six grades of response categories. Faced w i t h M o d e r n Indexing Language X , social constructionists w o u l d h o l d that: 1. M o d e r n Indexing Language X ( M I L X ) need not have existed, or need not be at a l l as it is. M I L X , or M I L X as it is at present, is not determined b y the nature of things; it is not inevitable. Often the social constructionist w o u l d go further, a n d argue that: 2.  M I L X is quite bad as it is.  A homage to statistician George E. P. Box's famous quotation: " a l l models are w r o n g , but some models are useful." 9  39 3.  W e w o u l d be m u c h better off if M I L X were done a w a y w i t h , or at least radically transformed (Hacking, 1999, 6).  In a p h y s i c a l sense, it is obvious that M o d e r n Indexing Language X is socially constructed. H a c k i n g (1999) argues that emphasis must be placed o n the difficult distinction between object a n d idea. O b v i o u s l y objects (in this case, i n d e x i n g languages) are not inevitable, whereas the idea of i n d e x i n g languages as objective a n d accurate representations of the w o r l d can be v i e w e d as something that is unavoidable. It is, therefore, necessary to be explicit that b y u s i n g H a c k i n g ' s stipulations, I a m referring to the ideological structure of i n d e x i n g languages a n d not i n d e x i n g languages as p h y s i c a l objects created b y classificationists a n d i n d e x i n g committees. W h a t is being argued here, is: the modernist discourse holds that i n d e x i n g languages are structured the w a y they are because they are objective tools, w h i c h mirror the w o r l d of k n o w l e d g e as it exists i n "reality." M o d e r n i s t s take the ideological structure of traditional i n d e x i n g languages for granted; they v i e w it as an inevitability g i v e n the structure of k n o w l e d g e i n the "real w o r l d " . In response to establishing that M o d e r n Indexing Language X is socially constructed, a social constructionist w i l l have different recommendations a n d reactions to the three statements mentioned above, resulting i n the six grades of constructionism:  40 1. H i s t o r i c a l : A social constructionist presents a history of M I L X a n d argues that M I L X has been constructed i n the course of social processes. Far from being inevitable, M I L X is the contingent upshot of historical events. A historical constructionist c o u l d be non-committal about whether M I L X is g o o d or bad. 2.  Ironic: M I L X , w h i c h w e thought to be an inevitable part of the w o r l d or of our conceptual architecture, c o u l d have been different. W e are nevertheless stuck w i t h it, it forms part of our w a y of t h i n k i n g , w h i c h w i l l evolve i n its o w n w a y , but about w h i c h w e can do n o t h i n g m u c h right now.  3.  Reformist: This grade of constructionism takes the second step, M I L X is quite b a d as it is, quite seriously. W e s h o u l d do something to change some aspects of M I L X i n order to make M I L X less pernicious. A n example of a reformist step towards reducing the h a r m caused by M I L X is to submit n e w i n d e x i n g terms to the committee i n charge of M I L X .  4. U n m a s k e r : Once one sees the extra-theoretical function of a n idea, it w i l l lose its practical effectiveness. M I L X is unmasked not so m u c h to disintegrate it, but to strip it of its false authority a n d appeal. A n unmasker m a y or m a y not be a reformist and vice versa. These t w o categories are placed o n the same plane. A n unmasker w o u l d be interested i n exposing M I L X a n d r e m o v i n g its epistemic authority. A t this stage i n the development of i n d e x i n g languages and given that social  41 tagging and traditional i n d e x i n g languages have been argued to serve different purposes, the position of this thesis w o u l d be that of a unmasker social constructionist. 5. Rebellious: A constructionist w h o actively maintains that M I L X is not inevitable, M I L X is bad, and w e w o u l d be better off w i t h o u t M I L X . A rebellious constructionist is committed to all three steps o n a n intellectual level. For example, a rebellious social constructionist w o u l d w r i t e a paper r e c o m m e n d i n g social tagging as a replacement for M I L X . 6. Revolutionary: A n activist constructionist w h o moves b e y o n d the w o r l d of ideas and tries to change the w o r l d i n respect to M I L X is a revolutionary. A revolutionary social constructionist, for example, w o u l d be a librarian w h o introduces social tagging on her library's O P A C and removes all other i n d e x i n g terms (Hacking, 1999,19-20).  In the last t w o steps of social constructionism presented by H a c k i n g (1999), there is no desire to w o r k w i t h i n , rework, revise, or i m p r o v e existing i n d e x i n g languages; nor is there a n aspiration for creating newer models and enhanced replicas. There is no commitment to m a i n t a i n any of our presumptions or to w o r k w i t h i n our existing frameworks. The challenge, w h i c h is currently m o u n t e d o n library O P A C s by social tagging against traditional i n d e x i n g languages does not, at this time, fall w i t h i n H a c k i n g ' s (1999) last t w o steps of social constructionism. Social tagging a d d e d as a feature alongside traditional  42 i n d e x i n g exemplifies the coexistence of postmodernist a n d modernist i n d e x i n g practices. D u e to this coexistence, the social constructionist level of c o m m i t m e n t remains at H a c k i n g ' s (1999) fourth step - unmasker. To s u m m a r i z e , social tagging meets T a r r o w ' s (1994) first basic property of social movements - collective challenge. Social tagging interrupts, obstructs, a n d renders uncertain traditional i n d e x i n g practices. M o r e specifically, folksonomies, as postmodern i n d e x i n g languages, challenge the dominance of modernist, traditional i n d e x i n g languages. A s this challenge is brought about b y large numbers of participants, social tagging is a collective challenge.  Common Purpose & Solidarity C o m m o n purpose a n d solidarity, the second a n d t h i r d properties of social movements, w i l l be discussed together as solidarity a m o n g a group of people is the result of their acknowledgement of c o m m o n purposes a n d interests. "It is participants' recognition of their c o m m o n interests that translates the potential for movement into collective action" (Tarrow, 1994, 5, emphasis original). W h i l e certain social movements have been m a r k e d by lively demonstrations or m o b like behaviours, spectacle is not often the p r i m a r y purpose or a necessary part of social movements. Rather, the group seeks "to mount c o m m o n claims against opponents, authorities or elites" (Tarrow, 1994, 4-5). Effective leaders of social movements are often those w h o emphasize the ties that exist a m o n g the participants. The distinction between u n a c k n o w l e d g e d a n d a c k n o w l e d g e d  43  commonalities i n purpose and interest is important because though u n a c k n o w l e d g e d commonalities may exist, they do not translate into collective action, w h i c h is needed for social movements. H o w are unrecognized commonalities elucidated? T a r r o w argues that engaging i n "framing w o r k " is necessary for the m o b i l i z a t i o n of social movements. H e offers the f o l l o w i n g explanation of "framing work": ... it is no simple matter to convince t i m i d people that the indignities of everyday life are not written i n the stars a n d can be attributed to some agent, a n d that they can change their conditions by taking action collectively. Inscribing grievances i n overall frames that identify a n injustice, attribute the responsibility for it to others and propose solutions to it, is a central activity of social movements (1994,123).  Furthermore, framing w o r k involves the b u i l d i n g and advocating of a discourse of injustice, w h i c h names and defines the targets of the collective a c t i o n .  10  Most  aware of the limitations of traditional i n d e x i n g languages are librarians a n d scholars i n the field of L i b r a r y and Information Science. They can choose to partake i n framing w o r k a n d become active participants i n the m o b i l i z a t i o n a n d maintenance of social tagging as an alternative k i n d of i n d e x i n g and a social movement. They can choose to engage i n critical librarianship a n d assume the social a n d political responsibilities inherent w i t h i n their profession (Andersen, The work of authors such as Clay Shirky and David Weinberger may be seen as "framing work" in relation to Web 2.0 technologies writ large. The work, which is required now, is similar contributions in relation to the implementation of social software on library OPACs. 10  44 2005). This participation may take the f o r m of w r i t i n g , action research, discussions, formal lectures, advocacy for social tagging or any other forms of c o m m u n i c a t i n g a n d exposing the current state of affairs i n indexing. [For] social movements are deeply i n v o l v e d i n the w o r k of " n a m i n g " grievances, connecting them to other grievances a n d constructing larger frames of meaning that w i l l resonate w i t h a population's cultural predispositions... (Tarrow, 1994,122).  A s is the case w i t h established social movements, i n d i v i d u a l taggers have different reasons for tagging. H o w e v e r those aware of social tagging's potential as a collective challenge can be instrumental i n b r i n g i n g about the recognition of a c o m m o n purpose a n d solidarity. For example, a tagger w h o tags p r i m a r i l y for personal reasons m a y also tag for reasons related to tagging as a collective challenge against the i n d e x i n g language used i n her public library. Personal motivations a n d c o m m o n purpose w i t h i n social movements need not be m u t u a l l y exclusive. G i v e n the historical endurance a n d preeminence of authoritative i n d e x i n g languages, framing w o r k i n favour of social tagging w o u l d not be easy or uncontested. O p p o s i t i o n is likely from both librarians a n d the public. T a r r o w (1994) discusses t w o w a y s i n w h i c h resisted m o b i l i z a t i o n can overcome such obstacles. The first is the s l o w process of formation a n d m o b i l i z a t i o n of consensus. Consensus formation is the passive a n d eventual acceptance of change, w h i c h takes place w h e n o l d a n d n e w social structures coexist for a p r o l o n g e d periods of time. Consensus m o b i l i z a t i o n is the active p r o m o t i o n of  45 that change through agents such as the media. Both passive a n d active consensus b u i l d i n g require less organizational effort than the second option of collective action, but are far slower i n b r i n g i n g about change. For example, w i t h o u t framing w o r k on the part of librarians and scholars the a d o p t i o n of social tagging b y libraries can take a l o n g time, as this form of i n d e x i n g m a y be v i e w e d as unnecessary i n comparison to paradigmatic i n d e x i n g languages. G i v e n enough time and w i t h the p o p u l a r i t y of social tagging on non-library websites, libraries may come to accept and adopt social tagging even w i t h o u t the framing w o r k and encouragement of supporters. H o w e v e r , as T a r r o w (1994) argues, the realization of the process of change w i l l be delayed. In situations where more immediate change is desired, framing w o r k and advocacy is required. For example, a librarian interested i n i n t r o d u c i n g social tagging to her library's O P A C m a y propose a tagging trial period to her library's b o a r d i n order to promote the concept w i t h i n the institution. D u e to the weight and credence of current cultural practices a n d understandings, the framing of n e w movements is often difficult, yet u n l i k e l y movements are constructed and can be successful given that movement leaders are able to take advantage of presented opportunities (Tarrow, 1994). In social tagging, for example, librarians can take advantage of technological advances i n social software, public's demonstrated interest i n non-library sites such as F l i c k r a n d L i b r a r y T h i n g , a n d the existing willingness of taggers to tag. Changes i n opportunity s h o u l d be seized a n d expanded though framing w o r k a n d collective  46 action if they are to be sustained a n d result i n socio-political change. G i v e n the lack of empirical data o n motivational factors b e h i n d social tagging, it is difficult to discuss c o m m o n purpose a n d solidarity amongst taggers. H o w e v e r , t h o u g h it is true that w e are currently not i n a position to comment o n the reasons w h y taggers engage i n tagging, w e can nevertheless attempt to sanction a strong sense of c o m m o n purpose a n d solidarity given auspicious circumstances. A s discussed i n the first chapter of this thesis, librarianship is not a socio-politically neutral profession, and there is no pretense of neutrality i n the arguments presented i n this thesis. Librarians a n d scholars i n the field of L i b r a r y a n d Information Science w h o are supportive of social tagging have a significant socio-political opportunity presented to them. The technology is available a n d the c r o w d s are w i l l i n g . A s contended earlier, social movements are formed w h e n political opportunities arise for social actors w h o lack them. Social tagging is a chance for the p u b l i c to be active participants i n the interpretations a n d representation of information. This occasion is, i n m y opinion, a r a l l y i n g cry par excellence.  Sustaining  Collective  Action  Social movements require sustained collective action. "The social movements that have left the deepest marks o n history have done so because they sustained collective action against better-equipped opponents" (Tarrow, 1994, 6). T h o u g h there is a tendency to compare social movements to  47 contentious episodes such as riots, this analogy is not always accurate. M o s t riots d o not translate into social movements because rioters m a y or m a y not have a c o m m o n purpose a n d may d i s b a n d as abruptly as they emerge. The tendency to a l i g n social movements w i t h riots may arise from the desire to d i m i n i s h the sense of purpose of the former b y p o i n t i n g to the capriciousness conjured b y the latter. For example, those opposed to social tagging on library O P A C s m a y use this characterization of tagging as a social movement to point to it as a n unreliable and short-lived trend. It, therefore, is necessary to emphasize that social movements, b y definition, require sustained collective actions. M o v e m e n t s are sustained both b y external forces such as movement organizers a n d internal forces such as social networks. The role of movement organizers was discussed i n the previous section i n relation to the cultivation of a c o m m o n purpose a n d solidarity amongst taggers. To the extent that organizers a n d those i n v o l v e d i n framing w o r k are instrumental i n b r i n g i n g about collective action, they also play an important role i n its continuation. The second factor i n the sustainability of social movements is the social network. O n l i n e social networks have considerable p o w e r as motivators a n d enforcers of cooperation (Donath & b o y d , 2004). T h e y are analogous to real-life social groups i n m y r i a d ways, as by u s i n g social n e t w o r k i n g sites, users are able to create descriptive profiles and invite others (or are i n v i t e d by others) to connect w i t h them digitally. These connections take m a n y forms: leaving comments o n a user's profile (Flickr), a d d i n g another user  48 to y o u r " w a t c h list" (LibraryThing), " p o k i n g " someone or asking them to be y o u r friend (Facebook), etc. The point is that "people are accustomed to t h i n k i n g of the online w o r l d as a social space" (Donath & b o y d , 2004, 71). Belonging to social networks online has similar implications as real-life situations: users can d i s p l a y their connections w i t h others i n the same w a y they w o u l d if they hosted a party, other members can infer certain information about a user's political leanings, taste i n literature, music, food, etc. from their profiles but also from their online network of friends (Donath & b o y d , 2004). Similar levels of profile sharing a n d online n e t w o r k i n g m a y be available to taggers o n library O P A C s . For example, as a tagger on the V a n c o u v e r Public L i b r a r y O P A C , I w o u l d be able to create a personal profile, w h i c h tells other taggers or browsers information I choose to share w i t h them: m y user or real name, books I have b o r r o w e d , books I a m r e a d i n g right n o w , books that I have tagged. Other users w o u l d infer a certain level of trust or distrust i n m y tags from other information that I have p r o v i d e d to them. For example, they m a y trust tags p r o v i d e d by taggers w i t h s i m i l a r taste i n literature. In this case, as w i t h other manifestations of social signaling, the accuracy of conclusions d r a w n m a y be questioned. The more significant point is that users are g i v e n the choice to use this socially p r o v i d e d information to r e m a i n engaged a n d to make decisions related to their requirements at any g i v e n time. O n l i n e social networks m i r r o r other social networks i n some w a y s , but surpass them i n terms of convenience. U s i n g the Internet to keep i n touch m a y  49 be less personal but it is easier. I w o u l d , for example, be far more l i k e l y to keep u p w i t h m y membership i n a particular social movement collective i f m y contributions c o u l d be made digitally. It is more manageable a n d more conducive to l o n g term sustainability if I can participate o n m y o w n time, rather than h a v i n g to make real time commitments to meetings and rallies. The simple fact that tagging is easy is imperative to its success as a sustainable social movement. Furthermore, tagging as a k i n d of information seeking behaviour, w o u l d not be a n o v e l activity: " H u m a n s have for a l l times sought information i n order to support their activities" (Andersen, 2006, 217). The fact that tagging is, to some extent, a manifestation of an everyday h u m a n activity - information seeking - adds to its qualification as a sustainable collective action. The already inherent elements w i t h i n social tagging, such as its utilization of social networks a n d convenience of use, favour its candidacy as a tool for sustained collective action a n d social change.  Conclusion Folksonomies, performed collectively b y the members of the public, are contrary to the ethos of traditional i n d e x i n g languages and a challenge to their preeminence. Whether or not taggers can be described as sharing a c o m m o n purpose is, as of yet, undetermined. H o w e v e r solidarity - the recognition of a c o m m o n purpose - can be harnessed b y scholars a n d librarians w h o are interested i n the m o b i l i z a t i o n of social tagging as a social movement through  50 framing w o r k and other forms of advocacy. Librarians a n d other interested parties i n L I S are faced w i t h an unprecedented socio-political opportunity: through the utilization of online social networks a n d g i v e n the ease a n d convenience of tagging, social tagging once introduced, can be effectively sustained on O n l i n e Public Access Catalogues of our local libraries. A n d e r s e n (2005) argues that k n o w l e d g e organization systems (of w h i c h O P A C s are an example) are "the professional tools of librarians. D u e to this fact, w e s h o u l d expect that librarians have a lot to say about the roles a n d doings of these systems i n the mediation of society a n d culture...." A d v o c a c y for social tagging capabilities o n library O P A C s is a significant step towards counterbalancing the documented lack of critical librarianship i n LIS (Andersen, 2005; A n d e r s e n & S k o u v i g 2006). The selection of a socio-politically engaged p a r a d i g m for the understanding of social tagging o n library O P A C S - the specific focus of this thesis a n d the emphasized area of overlap between social tagging a n d social movements i n Figure 1.1 - is needed to realize the full potential social tagging as a social movement. The f o l l o w i n g chapter w i l l propose an anarchist - a n d specifically K r o p o t k i n i s t - p a r a d i g m because by choosing an anarchist p a r a d i g m , librarians a n d L I S scholars engaged i n critical librarianship can make certain that social tagging continues to m a i n t a i n and develop its p r i n c i p a l socio-political contribution: the freedom and agency of library patrons to interpret a n d represent content objects according to their points of v i e w .  51  Chapter Four The Structure of an Anarchist Paradigm  There are periods in the life of human society when revolution becomes an imperative necessity, when it proclaims itself as inevitable. New ideas germinate everywhere, seeking to force their way into the light, to find an application in life; everywhere they are opposed by the inertia of those whose interest it is to maintain the old order; they suffocate in the stifling atmosphere of prejudice and traditions. - Peter Kropotkin (1880, 2002 ed. 35)  Introduction The future of social tagging i n libraries is at best uncertain; at worst, librarians, classificationists, a n d scholars w i l l reject it as either u n w o r t h y of serious consideration or a dangerous idea to be deftly evaded by those g u a r d i n g the intellectual integrity of traditional i n d e x i n g practices and, by extension, our discipline. W h y w o u l d the integrity of L i b r a r y a n d Information Science be seen as threatened b y public participation i n library indexing? C a n social tagging be regarded as a n e w order of order w i t h o u t i m p o s e d , authoritative rule or is it fated to be c o n d e m n e d as disorder? C a n social tagging a d d value to the w a y s i n w h i c h w e currently represent content objects i n online p u b l i c access catalogues of libraries or is it an unacceptable aberration i n the l o n g tradition of l i b r a r y indexing? Therein lies the difference between the acceptance a n d rejection of  52 social tagging as a Panacean cure or a P a n d o r a n threat, respectively.  11  W e are at  a critical juncture i n our understanding of social tagging; the w a y s i n w h i c h w e choose to frame, study, a n d discuss p u b l i c participation i n library i n d e x i n g n o w w i l l have a direct a n d significant impact o n its future utilization or i m m i n e n t disregard. In addition, it is not enough to discourage a n d refrain from direct attack o n social tagging, rather w e must also ensure that librarians a n d L I S scholars are actively engaged w i t h ideas such as social tagging - ideas that are of value to the pursuit of critical librarianship. The socio-political potential of social tagging i n libraries is far too significant for it to be consigned a n d relegated to non-library i n d e x i n g alone. Furthermore, as an issue of considerable sociopolitical consequence, it is fitting to seek a politically informed p a r a d i g m for its consideration a n d study.  Paradigm - K u h n i a n A u t h o r M i c h a e l Ondaatje describes storytelling as the process of s h i n i n g a spotlight o n a dark stage. A t any given time, the narrator has the p o w e r to illuminate specific aspects of the story and to conceal others. There m a y not come a time w h e n the stage is lit i n its entirety a n d some parts, t h o u g h present,  T o b o r r o w from the title of the 1 7 annual Special Interest G r o u p / C l a s s i f i c a t i o n Research ( S I G / C R ) W o r k s h o p : "Social Classification: Panacea or Pandora?" presented at the A n n u a l M e e t i n g of the A m e r i c a n Society for Information Science a n d Technology (ASIS&T) i n A u s t i n , Texas. 11  th  53 are never revealed.  12  Spotlights a n d paradigms are both selective narration tools;  they g u i d e our attention. Since the 1962 publication of Thomas S. K u h n ' s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, it is c o m m o n to read about paradigm-directed research i n the scholarship of conventionally disparate disciplines. O u r o w n field of L i b r a r y a n d Information Science has s u m m o n e d his name a n d contributions i n discussions o n the establishment of research frameworks (Ellis, 1998; H j o r l a n d 1998). Here, f o l l o w i n g a brief o v e r v i e w , I base the p a r a d i g m part of the proposed anarchist p a r a d i g m o n the K u h n i a n characterization of the concept. K u h n describes paradigms as g u i d i n g a n d even determining the directions of research. D u r i n g periods w h e n scientists are i n v o l v e d i n s o l v i n g the problems of their paradigms, referred to as " n o r m a l " science, the values of that particular p a r a d i g m shape the scientists' o w n sense of "reality" a n d "truth." A n y g i v e n scientific c o m m u n i t y , then, operates under a set of w e l l - g u a r d e d beliefs a n d assumptions. These core assumptions are maintained a n d communicated to future generations through education. K u h n writes: "because that education is both rigorous a n d r i g i d , these answers come to exert a deep h o l d o n the scientific m i n d " (1962, 5). Furthermore, there are interrelations between the "descriptive a n d normative dimensions of such c o m m u n i t i e s " (Bernstein, 1983, 78). W h i l e descriptive guidelines p r o v i d e epistemological tools w i t h i n such communities, normative values have a regulative impact o n scientific activity, research, a n d i n q u i r y . W h i l e i n v o l v e d i n research, or as K u h n  T h i s description was g i v e n by Ondaatje d u r i n g a live interview w i t h H a l W a k e at C h r i s t C h u r c h Cathedral i n Vancouver, British C o l u m b i a o n M a y 3, 2007. 12  54  sees it the "strenuous attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes s u p p l i e d by professional education" (1962, 5), scientists d o i n g " n o r m a l " science tend to overlook s m a l l anomalies. Nevertheless, there comes a time w h e n particular anomalies can no longer be i g n o r e d because they u n d e r m i n e the core suppositions of the paradigm. They become problematic enough that a change i n assumptions becomes necessary. This change or "shift i n professional commitments" (1962, 6) ushers a p a r a d i g m shift. Once the shift has taken place, the path to a n e w n o r m a l science begins again. The paradigmatic execution of science does not concern K u h n . In fact, "the successive transition from one p a r a d i g m to another v i a r e v o l u t i o n is the usual developmental pattern of mature science" ( K u h n , 1962,12). P a r a d i g m s are useful to scientific i n q u i r y because they a l l o w scientists to agree o n fundamental assumptions of their fields, m a k i n g both pure a n d a p p l i e d science possible. They p r o v i d e frameworks w i t h i n w h i c h to ask questions a n d seek answers a n d p r o v i d e a m y r i a d of m o p - u p w o r k , a l l w i t h i n the paradigmatic framework. P a r a d i g m s are of great w o r t h to scientific i n q u i r y because as K u h n writes: "no natural history can be interpreted i n the absence of at least some i m p l i c i t b o d y of i n t e r t w i n e d a n d methodological belief that permits selection, evaluation, a n d criticism" (1962,17). Paradigms help shape scientists' questions, methods, a n d answers as w i t h o u t them " a l l facts that c o u l d possibly pertain to the development of a given science are l i k e l y to seem relevant" ( K u h n , 1962,15). H o w e v e r , operating w i t h i n a p a r a d i g m prevents researchers from being  55 cognizant of the w h o l e picture - the "truth". G i v e n that there is no h u m a n alternative to operating w i t h i n paradigms, the "truth" remains at large. T h o u g h K u h n ' s contributions are about the sciences specifically, they are invaluable to other disciplines of study. Since 1962, K u h n ' s w o r k has problematized claims of neutrality i n research frameworks w r i t large. It is c o m m o n l y understood that through paradigms, research becomes value-laden. B y selecting a particular p a r a d i g m , researchers choose to be taught, learn, a n d espouse certain v i e w p o i n t s a n d disregard others; it i n v o l v e s v a l u i n g one explanation over another. Traditionally, the physical sciences were understood to p r o v i d e a G o d ' s eye v i e w of the w o r l d a n d the social sciences were seen as striving to get as close to this position as possible. W i t h the foundations, assumptions, a n d practices of the p h y s i c a l sciences under scrutiny a n d spotlight, the biases inherent i n the social sciences are even further pronounced. For our stated purpose of the study of social tagging, w h a t w o u l d this proposed anarchist p a r a d i g m look like? A s C h o m s k y writes, there have been " m a n y styles of anarchist thought a n d action. It w o u l d be hopeless to try to encompass a l l of these conflicting tendencies i n some general theory i d e o l o g y " (1970, vii). A singular theory of anarchism does not exist. That b e i n g said, the ethos of the anarchist movement, i n general, together w i t h that of social tagging, i n its current form, demands further exploration. For what brings all threads of anarchist thought together is their denunciation of external authority ( W a r d , 2004, 3). N o t only are there different anarchist schools of thought, but also each  56 thread, each concept, a n d each movement w i t h i n the movement has been "reinvented or rediscovered continually" (Ward, 2004, 31). This evolution is a sign of relevance, a l l o w i n g for its continual application without anachronistic reservations. M a r k Leier writes: The anarchist critique of the state, of capital, of power, is a c o m p e l l i n g one, a n d the lesson of anarchism is constantly relearned through experience: people w h o do not benefit from the system w i l l organize to create alternatives (2006, xiv)  I believe that the above quote highlights anarchism both i n content a n d form. N o t o n l y are critiques of state, capital, a n d p o w e r the contents of anarchism, but also the ideology is expressly carried out by people w h o ascribe to anarchism's critical content a n d w h o , not benefiting from the system, organize to create alternatives for themselves a n d others. U s i n g anarchism - both content a n d f o r m - as a point of departure, it is important to make a parallel distinction i n its application to social tagging. W h i l e I see social tagging as anarchistic i n its inherent rejection of authority and the w a y i n w h i c h it is carried out o n l i b r a r y O P A C s , the choice of p a r a d i g m does not necessarily extend to taggers' political inclinations. The critical point i n social tagging, the point that makes it anarchistic, is that tags are not monitored or controlled by a n external, i m p o s e d authority. Taggers are free to tag content as they see fit even if their tags are ideologically opposed to other taggers' contributions or to anarchism. T r a d i t i o n a l i n d e x i n g languages are generally speaking racist, sexist, a n d classist  57 (Olson, 2002) a n d as such, it is likely that tags contributed by patrons o n library O P A C s w i l l generate folksonomies that are politically and ideologically opposed to these prejudices, however, this prediction is not a necessary part of the consideration of social tagging as an anarchistic social movement. Regardless of the ideologies represented by traditional i n d e x i n g languages, social tagging can w o r k to u n d e r m i n e their authority. The strength of social tagging does not lie w i t h the content of the tags per se but rather w i t h the fact that it is carried out from the bottom u p w a r d s by means of patron contributions a n d not from the top d o w n w a r d s by means of authoritative rule. W h a t is important is that the tags p r o v i d e alternative access points different from traditional i n d e x i n g terms a n d a l l o w space for viewpoints that are, generally speaking, unrepresented. The lack of emphasis placed o n the content of tags a n d folksonomies m a y seem contradictory g i v e n the contentual critique of traditional i n d e x i n g languages presented i n this thesis. This inconsistency can, however, be addressed g i v e n the w a y i n w h i c h each act of i n d e x i n g is carried out. Consider, for example, a situation where a group of ten friends are ordering dinner at a restaurant. If one friend assumes the authority of o r d e r i n g the same d i s h for everyone present, then the k i n d (content) of the food being ordered is significant a n d open for critique a n d discussion. Alternatively, if each person were g i v e n the opportunity to choose a n d order his or her o w n meal, then a critique of each i n d i v i d u a l d i s h w o u l d be nonsensical. A l t h o u g h the most significant differentiating factor  58 remains the authoritative vs. non-authoritative form of ordering, the former allows for a critique of content, w h i l e the latter does not.  Paradigm - Anarchist - Kropotkinist In the previous chapter, u s i n g Sidney Tarrow's four basic properties of social movements - collective challenge, c o m m o n purpose, solidarity, a n d sustaining collective action - from his 1994 text, Power in Movement: Social Movements, Collective Action and Politics, I argued for the conceptualization of social tagging as a social movement. Here, I propose that not o n l y is social tagging a n anarchist social movement b y nature, but that it can r e m a i n so b y nurture. The t w o positions - first: social tagging is an anarchist social movement a n d second: it can continue to function as such - are related but distinct. Currently, social tagging is formulated a n d conducted w i t h o u t the interference of authoritative, central governance such as the L i b r a r y of Congress and, as such, it is an anarchist undertaking both i n theory and praxis. In fact, social tagging is proof that "organization w i t h o u t government [is] both possible a n d desirable" (Ward, 2004, l ) .  1 3  F o r future considerations, the use of an  In Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction, Colin Ward (2004) describes anarchist PierreJoseph Proudhon's position: "Proudhon argued that organization without government was both possible and desirable." I use this quote about anarchism in relation to social tagging to highlight that, interestingly, I have found descriptions of anarchism and social tagging to echo each other in the literature of their respective fields. In response to common concerns about chaotic and ill-intentioned tagging practices on social tagging sites, Winget writes about taggers' motivations and behaviour on Flickr: "the strength of the social relationships of players within the system provides a mechanism for ambient and informal policies and procedures, which although not official or strict, perform the function of enforcing appropriate tagging behavior" (2006,15). 13  59 anarchist p a r a d i g m w o u l d have implications regarding both scholarly research a n d practical implementations of social tagging i n library settings. A s far as social tagging is an anarchist practice, it is useful to understand it as such, but for reasons b e y o n d practicality - reasons of ideology a n d p a r a d i g m choice - it is further recommended that we do so. B y choosing an anarchist p a r a d i g m for the study of social tagging, librarians a n d L I S scholars can make certain that social tagging continues to be maintained, developed, and studied as an anarchist social movement. To summarize, the fact that social tagging, i n its current f o r m , has anarchist characteristics does not necessarily justify the a d o p t i o n of a n anarchist p a r a d i g m for its future study, rather an anarchist p a r a d i g m is suggested because it w i l l w o r k to preserve the already existing advantages of social tagging discussed i n the first chapter - advantages such as inclusivity a n d flexibility. A s a g u i d i n g p a r a d i g m for research, anarchism w o u l d preserve a n d further advance social tagging as a socio-political tool and ensure that the interests of taggers are considered at every stage of development a n d implementation. A n anarchist p a r a d i g m of social tagging, for example, might preclude the introduction of tag lists, w h i c h w o u l d either r e c o m m e n d or require taggers to choose from pre-approved tags. The authority assumed b y people or committees responsible for creating controlled and acceptable tag lists w o u l d be rejected o n anarchist grounds a n d the ethos of choice a n d voluntary participation emphasized. I believe that librarians a n d scholars i n the field of L i b r a r y and Information Science w o u l d do w e l l to look outside the traditional boundaries of  60  our d i s c i p l i n e for more robust conceptualizations of this relatively n e w phenomenon; I propose anarchism as a viable choice. In r e a d i n g discussions about social tagging, it is increasingly difficult to overlook the distinct and p o w e r f u l ideological confluence between this emergent p u b l i c action and the theories of anarchism. N o t only is social tagging anarchistic, but also "anarchy is a theory of organization" ( W a r d & G o o d w a y , 2003, 62) w o r t h y of our collective a n d unremitting attention. M a r k Leier writes that the w o r d anarchism itself "has l o n g been separated from its real m e a n i n g of 'rule by no one'" (2006, x). F r o m the Greek anarkhia, anarchism's literal m e a n i n g of " w i t h o u t a ruler" or "rule by no one" is thus e m p l o y e d here. T h o u g h this definition is often clearly stated i n anarchist texts, there is also the need to clarify a n d defend anarchism against its more p o p u l a r a n d m i s l e a d i n g understandings: a socio-political ideology espousing violence a n d chaotic lawlessness (Guerin, 1970; Leier, 2006). T h i s argument is w e l l made b y these authors a n d w i l l not be reiterated here.  14  T o expand b e y o n d the literal meaning of the w o r d , Peter  K r o p o t k i n ' s 1905 definition of anarchism w i l l be adopted for use throughout this thesis. In the eleventh edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, K r o p o t k i n wrote that anarchism is:  In Chapter 3, the inclination of a few to inaccurately equate social movements w i t h riots w a s discussed. The point made was that detractors, w h o w i s h to discount the significance of social movements, rely o n its occasional correlation w i t h incidents of rioting to make a causal a n d blanket statement: a l l social movements i n v o l v e rioting. A similar fallacy is at play i n l i n k i n g violence w i t h anarchism; though violence and anarchist actions sometimes coincide, violence is not a defining characteristic of anarchism. 14  61 The name given to a principle or theory of life a n d conduct under w h i c h society is conceived w i t h o u t government - h a r m o n y i n such a society b e i n g obtained, not b y submission to l a w , or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements c o n c l u d e d between the various groups, territorial a n d professional, freely constituted for the sake of p r o d u c t i o n a n d consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs a n d aspirations of a civilised being (In W a r d & G o o d w a y , 2003, 25, spelling original).  For our purposes here, anarchist Peter K r o p o t k i n ' s w r i t i n g s are used as illustrative of anarchist p h i l o s o p h y w r i t large, for the existence of v a r i e d schools of thought w i t h i n anarchism, precludes its discussion as one, unified whole. It is inevitable, therefore, that what w i l l be said here w i l l fall short of a satisfactory treatment of anarchism as a whole. H o w e v e r , by concentrating o n one of anarchism's most significant theorists, something of value can nevertheless be contributed. In fact, K r o p o t k i n ' s contributions to anarchist thought are broad e n o u g h to i n c l u d e most anarchist tenets, even w h e n they differ o n s m a l l or specific points. Far from detracting from its usefulness, anarchism's m a n y thronged p h i l o s o p h y allows the theory malleability a n d relevance to c o m m o n a n d practical situations. C o l i n W a r d writes that K r o p o t k i n , "the most w i d e l y read o n a global scale of a l l anarchist authors, l i n k e d anarchism both w i t h subsequent ideas of social ecology a n d w i t h everyday experiences" (2004, 8). W a r d further (2004, 31) argues that even though there exists a great deal of reinvention a n d evolution, it is possible still to talk of an anarchist theory of  62  organization as consisting of the f o l l o w i n g four characteristics: voluntary, functional, temporary, a n d small; these four points w i l l be revisited later i n this chapter. A l t h o u g h K r o p o t k i n devoted m u c h of his life to science, the most significant of his contributions were to the anarchist cause. A s an anarchist a n d a revolutionary, K r o p o t k i n is k n o w n as the father of anarchist-communism: K r o p o t k i n argued that anarchism a n d c o m m u n i s m c o m b i n e d t w o currents of thought - radical liberalism, w h i c h placed an emphasis o n i n d i v i d u a l freedom a n d the negation of state (anarchism), a n d liberal socialism, w h i c h , stridently anticapitalist, opposed both private property a n d the wage system (communism) (Morris, 2004, 22, parentheses original).  B r o a d l y speaking, where the central issues of the anarchist-communism are property, l a n d , natural resources a n d means of p r o d u c t i o n (Ward, 2004), this thesis is concerned w i t h the organization of k n o w l e d g e as represented by i n d e x i n g , a n d as far as n a m i n g can be seen as an act of ownership, k n o w l e d g e as property. T o some extent, then, social tagging o n library O P A C s is a n act of c l a i m i n g c o m m u n a l rights to the k n o w l e d g e contained w i t h i n the library a n d its content objects; folksonomies are created by voluntary contribution a n d are used freely by patrons as they see fit. Critical librarianship - the position of being cognizant a n d i n v o l v e d i n the social a n d political responsibilities inherent w i t h i n the profession - can be informed by K r o p o t k i n ' s contributions because anarchistc o m m u n i s m is, first a n d foremost, preoccupied w i t h action a n d not theory. O f  63  course, the tenets have to be communicated, and they often were through propagandist writings, but K r o p o t k i n wrote w i t h the intention of m o b i l i z a t i o n (Cahm, 1989). Describing K r o p o t k i n ' s anarchist-communism, George W o o d c o c k writes: W h e n K r o p o t k i n says that everything must return to the c o m m u n i t y , he does not mean this i n a vague a n d general way; he means specifically that it must be taken over b y the commune. This is a term familiar e n o u g h to the French, w h o m he w a s p r i m a r i l y addressing; it describes the local unit of administration that is nearest to the people a n d their concerns, but it also carries revolutionary connotations of the Paris communes of 1793 a n d 1871 (2004,167-168, emphasis original).  S i m i l a r l y , social tagging returns the h o l d i n g s of libraries to their patrons both i n a figurative a n d literal sense.  B y tagging the content objects, the patrons r e c l a i m  them symbolically and by actually finding a n d accessing the materials, they are g i v e n literal, c o m m u n a l rights to libraries' holdings. For K r o p o t k i n , c o m m u n a l associations were formed voluntarily, u n i t i n g groups of i n d i v i d u a l s concerned w i t h a l l levels of social interests a n d functionality. In practice, everyone w o u l d contribute v o l u n t a r i l y what they c o u l d , a n d take freely w h a t they needed. M o r e o v e r , unions between the communes produce "a network of cooperation that replaces the state," (Woodcock, 2004,168) for a l l central authority is u n e q u i v o c a l l y opposed. K r o p o t k i n argued "that a further advance i n social life does not lie i n the direction of a further concentration of p o w e r and regulative functions i n the hands of a g o v e r n i n g body, but i n the direction of  64  decentralization, both territorial and functional... (1887, 2002 ed., 51)." Folksonomies are a consummate example of decentralized, functional, and cooperatively produced indexing languages. They can be created and continually adjusted to serve the needs of different communities of library users at any given time. Ward (2004, 31) argues that anarchist organizations are characteristically voluntary, functional, temporary, and small. Voluntary engagement is seen as necessary by Kropotkin (1887, 2002 ed.), and is reiterated by Ward: "There is no point in advocating individual freedom and responsibility if we go on to set up organizations in which membership is mandatory..." (2004, 31). Social tagging is obviously a voluntary undertaking. A 2006 survey by PEW Internet and American Life Project found that 28% of people who use the Internet have, on their own accord, tagged online content (Rainie, 2007). In fact, groups of users have embraced tagging - voluntarily - at a rate that has demanded the attention of technology and Internet researchers: "there are even reports that some web users now have made tagging sites their home page, making these sites at least nominal competitors to big media companies that hope users will start their online experiences on their main page" (Rainie, 2007). Ward advocates a functional anarchist theory of organization. He writes: "there is a tendency for bodies to continue to exist after having outlived their functions" (2004, 31). We would be hard pressed to imagine a situation where taggers are involved in tagging online content even when their efforts serve no  65 purpose. W a r d ' s second criteria is closely l i n k e d w i t h his first, as v o l u n t a r y efforts w o u l d not be made if the volunteers d i d not g a i n something from their participation, either i n d i v i d u a l l y or as a group. O f course, the functionality of tagging is v a r i e d across different social tagging sites a n d for different i n d i v i d u a l s a n d communities, but for taggers to continue tagging, the pursuit must have a purpose. E v e n i n situations as specific as library O P A C s , not a l l taggers w o u l d tag w i t h the same intentions, but they tag w i t h intentions nevertheless. F r o m an i n d e x i n g p o i n t of v i e w , social tagging c a n be offered as a solution to archaic a n d inflexible i n d e x i n g terms i n traditional languages. Social tagging lets libraries stay current a n d relevant; tags can meet the changing demands of language a n d culture more efficiently than traditional i n d e x i n g terms, thereby m a k i n g social tagging a useful a n d functional activity. Anarchist organizations are temporary; social tagging is, b y definition, transient. Tags are not maintained a n d tolerated s i m p l y because they have been used before. W a r d (2004) emphasizes the temporary nature of anarchist organizations to w a r n against the acceptance of permanence for its o w n sake. A g a i n , his point is closely related to the one mentioned previously, because organizations s h o u l d be abandoned once they cease to serve their stated functions. Tags, folksonomies - the aggregation of tags - and taggers are ever changing. They are responsive to change, a n d easily removed. Taggers can remove their tags as w e l l as themselves easily a n d quickly, thereby c h a n g i n g the m a k e u p of their respective folksonomies. Furthermore, social tagging as a w h o l e  66 does not require large financial or infrastructural commitments on the part of libraries i n question, a n d may be easily abandoned if a n d w h e n it n o longer serves the c o m m u n i t y . The opposite is true i n case of traditional library i n d e x i n g . The time and money invested i n the creation and maintenance of traditional i n d e x i n g languages is often regarded as a reason for its continued use (Dykstra, 1978). Once organizations are maintained for reasons of tradition or financial investment, functionality is not v a l u e d as h i g h l y or questioned as regularly as one w o u l d expect i n d y n a m i c institutions such as libraries institutions that hope to serve their communities i n the best and most efficient w a y s as possible. Social tagging, as implemented o n library O P A C s , is a small and c o m m u n a l undertaking. The folksonomies that are created reflect the tags contributed by the patrons of that particular library system. Especially i n relation to traditional i n d e x i n g practices a n d controlled vocabularies whose a i m is often universality, social tagging can be more immediately a n d c u l t u r a l l y relevant. W h e r e folksonomies reflect the culture of a particular c o m m u n i t y , members of that c o m m u n i t y are better able to interact w i t h the information that is presented to them; that is they are more likely to find what they are l o o k i n g for u s i n g search terms and k e y w o r d s that are culturally current, relevant and appropriate. A t the same time, social tagging is not a bureaucratic process. I n d i v i d u a l s can contribute tags directly and without interference from other members of the library c o m m u n i t y , m a k i n g the process more functional,  67 immediate, a n d relevant. B y v a l u i n g the needs of the users over institutional bureaucracy, social tagging may be seen as tool that encourages patron participation and interest i n libraries. The f o l l o w i n g example of an information seeking incident at the Vancouver P u b l i c L i b r a r y demonstrates that the system of representation currently p r o v i d e d b y traditional i n d e x i n g i n our libraries m a y w o r k to impede the information literacy - the ability to seek, find, and evaluate information - of certain groups of people i n significant ways. D u r i n g a reference interview, I assisted a patron w h o was l o o k i n g for the book Where People Feast: An Indigenous People's Cookbook b y D o l l y a n d A n n i e Watts. The patron h a d forgotten the title of the book, but h a d attempted to use the subject browse function of V P L ' s online p u b l i c access catalogue. Unfortunately a n d to her surprise, the cookbook was listed w i t h the f o l l o w i n g subjects: •  I n d i a n cookery - British C o l u m b i a  •  Indian cookery.  •  C o o k e r y - British C o l u m b i a .  The book, w h i c h w a s catalogued o n A p r i l 30, 2007, was not found because the patron d i d not consider "Indian cookery" as an i n d e x i n g term for the cookbook she was searching for.  15  It is true that no content object w i l l ever be represented  to everyone's satisfaction a n d it is true that anarchism means many different things to m a n y people, but there is something critical at stake: i n the year 2007, a  15  A s an aside, books o n East Indian c o o k i n g is listed under: • C o o k e r y , Indie [sic].  68 patron at the V a n c o u v e r P u b l i c L i b r a r y cannot find the cookbook Where People Feast: An Indigenous People's Cookbook because she searched under the subject headings "native cookery" a n d " a b o r i g i n a l cookery" instead of " I n d i a n cookery". In social tagging w e have at our disposal a technology that can p r o v i d e other access points to content objects and help patrons w h o cannot decode our current i n d e x i n g languages to find their books. N e i t h e r she, nor I, w o u l d have attached the tag " I n d i a n cookery" to the book i n question. If it is our goal to help patrons find the information they are l o o k i n g for, then librarians and L I S scholars must carefully consider this opportunity. Biases inherent w i t h i n traditional i n d e x i n g languages have been previously discussed. The example p r o v i d e d here highlights an instance where the i n d e x i n g language used at the V a n c o u v e r P u b l i c Library h a d a direct impact on the ability of a patron to f i n d a book. A s critical librarians, w e need an evaluative p a r a d i g m to assist us i n recognizing, formulating, a n d presenting additional access points than currently offered b y traditional i n d e x i n g languages. A n a r c h i s m can help us frame, understand and discuss the necessity a n d value of public's participation i n library indexing. Contrary to the aforementioned threat to our discipline's intellectual integrity, an anarchist analysis of social tagging can help librarians advance the information literacy of our patrons.  There is an interesting parallel between two particular critiques of  the t w o movements - social tagging a n d anarchism - and the structure of the response p r o v i d e d by their proponents. A s discussed i n Chapter 2, though never  69 declared as a purpose, a l o w degree of precision a n d recall i n retrieval has been v i e w e d as a shortcoming of social tagging a n d a point i n favour of traditional library i n d e x i n g . This criticism, better directed at systems that do list h i g h degree of precision a n d recall i n retrieval as one of their purposes, highlights the system's failure to p r o v i d e this functionality as demonstrated by the patron's search for Where People Feast: An Indigenous People's Cookbook. S i m i l a r l y , anarchists have been criticized for their proclivities towards chaos a n d disorder w h e n i n fact, anarchists support order as l o n g it is sustained t h r o u g h "collaboration, deliberation, consensus, a n d c o m m o n coordination" (Vaidhyanathan, 2004, 4). In the abovementioned definition of anarchism g i v e n by K r o p o t k i n i n 1905, he emphasizes free a n d harmonious activities "constituted for the sake of p r o d u c t i o n a n d c o n s u m p t i o n " . Folksonomies are not u n i v e r s a l a n d do not aspire towards "truth" i n indexing, rather they p r o v i d e a functional solution to irrelevant, albeit consistent i n d e x i n g ; they are pragmatic tools that are created a n d used for the purposes of i n d i v i d u a l and c o m m u n a l n a m i n g a n d access to information. Inevitably, questions of noncompliance arise. Detractors of social tagging have criticized and questioned taggers w h o do not observe c o m m o n tagging conventions - taggers w h o deliberately engage i n " s l o p p y " tagging practices (Lawley, 2005; Mejias, 2005).  A n a r c h i s m offers an interesting answer o n this  i n q u i r y . K r o p o t k i n argues that there are t w o k i n d s of agreements. The first is the contract, w h i c h is agreed u p o n freely; g i v e n other, equally viable choices, the  70 parties i n question have chosen this particular arrangement. The second is a n "enforced agreement, i m p o s e d by one party u p o n the other, and accepted by latter from sheer necessity; i n fact, it is no agreement at all; it is a mere submission to necessity" (Kropotkin, 1887, 2002 ed., 69). K r o p o t k i n makes this distinction, as he does not "see the necessity of force for enforcing agreements freely entered u p o n " (Kropotkin, 1887, 2002 ed., 69). W h e n taggers engage i n social tagging, they do so out of their o w n v o l i t i o n a n d desire to reach the level of functionality that they are l o o k i n g for. If c o m m o n tagging practices can help them achieve their purpose, then it w o u l d serve them to observe these conventions a n d they w o u l d do so voluntarily. For example, if it is a tagger's intention to help other w o m e n i n her c o m m u n i t y b y h i g h l i g h t i n g the local library's h o l d i n g s o n w o m e n ' s health, then it w o u l d be counterproductive for this tagger to tag the books " w o m y n ' s health" as there is a g o o d chance that other patrons w i l l not use this unconventional spelling of the w o r d to conduct their search. The next point of contention is the v i e w that without external authoritative enforcement, long-term contributions to society are not possible; i n social tagging, people are u n l i k e l y to continue participating of their o w n accord. This K r o p o t k i n sees as a n essential ideological disagreement concerning h u m a n nature that is not easily reconciled. H e believes that w i t h humans, " w o r k is a habit, a n d idleness an artificial g r o w t h " (Kropotkin, 1887, 2002 ed., 70). K r o p o t k i n argues that it is o v e r w o r k a n d w o r k under conditions of uncertainty  71 a n d unfair remuneration that is objectionable a n d not w o r k per se. W i t h freely entered agreements a n d w o r k arrangements, there w o u l d be decreased incidents of anti-social a n d anti-communal behaviours because "freedom, fraternity, a n d the practice of h u m a n solidarity is the o n l y w a y of dealing, humanely, w i t h antisocial behaviour" (Morris, 2004, 23) both before a n d after its occurrence. G i v e n the choice, people w o u l d choose dignified participation over nonparticipation i n w o r k and society. Thus far, the contribution of taggers to various social tagging websites illustrates this anarchist principle: they have s h o w n they are prepared to take u p the w o r k . Furthermore, K r o p o t k i n ' s ideological position regarding w o r k e r s ' willingness to participate freely m a y be u t i l i z e d i n social tagging research. The above discussion is of particular interest to future research i n social tagging because, as discussed i n Chapter 2, questions r e g a r d i n g tagger motivation are yet to be asked a n d systematically studied. W i t h no "central authority i m p o s i n g a t o p - d o w n v i e w a n d every voice gain[ing] its space" (Quintarelli, 2005), are taggers motivated b y freedom w i t h w h i c h social tagging sites currently operate? A r e taggers spending their o w n time tagging books o n L i b r a r y Thing, photos o n Flickr, a n d websites o n Del.icio.us exactly because "free agreements need not be enforced" (Kropotkin, 1887, 2002 ed., 70)? A r e taggers d e v o t i n g their o w n time to seemingly laborious tasks because they are cognizant of the benefits - the greater good - of sharing both the efforts a n d the benefits of social tagging? The answers to these questions are yet to be determined, but the w a y s i n w h i c h researchers choose to frame a n d ask these  72 questions are inevitably influenced b y their choice of paradigm. For example, researchers operating w i t h i n an anarchist p a r a d i g m w o u l d be more l i k e l y to study non-traditional library i n d e x i n g a n d advocate a policy of non-interference i n social tagging environments; they might for example, be against the implementation of pre-approved tag lists. Social tagging, as an area of research, is particularly w e l l suited to the anarchist agenda; after all, i n K r o p o t k i n ' s o w n w o r d s , anarchism originated " f r o m the demands of practical life" (1887, 2002 ed. 154). In fact, social tagging exists as a theoretical construct because of p u b l i c participation - because people tagged. A s argued throughout this thesis, information literacy - the ability to seek, find, a n d evaluate information - is a practical s k i l l that librarians must foster i n the patrons of their libraries. T h u s far, traditional library i n d e x i n g has not been successful i n adequately representing content objects contained w i t h i n our libraries, l e a d i n g to decreased rates of information literacy. U s i n g the anarchist p a r a d i g m , social tagging m a y be offered as a practical - albeit imperfect - solution to central a n d authoritative representation a n d misrepresentation of content objects i n library O P A C s that l i m i t c o m m u n i t y participation a n d use of library resources. The choice of anarchism as a p a r a d i g m for the study of social tagging o n the open W e b is particularly apt; interestingly the Internet has h a d a history of being theorized as an agent of anarchy (Graham, 1999; V a n Aelst & W a l g r a v e , 2004). O f course, here again, one must sift through the misuse of the w o r d anarchy w i t h a d d e d qualifiers such as " g o o d " a n d " b a d " for purposes of  73 distinction. F o r example G r a h a m (1999) uses " g o o d anarchy" to refer to the use of the Internet as an instrument of p u b l i c access a n d participation a n d " b a d anarchy" to refer to the Internet as a m e d i u m of misinformation a n d a place of scant m o r a l policing. It is his use of " g o o d anarchy" that is of interest here, a n d is henceforth referred to as anarchy. G r a h a m (1999) argues that internationalism a n d p o p u l i s m are t w o important factors contributing to the Internet's u t i l i z a t i o n as an agent of i n d i v i d u a l participation a n d creation of a space w h i c h functions independently from and, i n some cases, despite the state. G r a h a m ' s (1999) internationalism goes b e y o n d the idea of connecting people across borders to refer to a p r o f o u n d disregard for national and international boundaries. N o t w i t h s t a n d i n g governmental attempts to regulate a n d control its use, the "Internet is w h o l l y indifferent to international boundaries" (Graham, 1999, 86, emphasis original). Therefore, communities - both large a n d small - can form u s i n g the Internet regardless of i n d i v i d u a l s ' p h y s i c a l location. S i m i l a r l y , the p o p u l i s m of the Internet goes b e y o n d the observation that the Internet is s i m p l y popular. G r a h a m (1999) is referring here to the fact that access to the Internet is increasingly available to those w i t h l i m i t e d financial a n d technical capabilities. N o t o n l y has o w n i n g computers become more 16  commonplace, but also places such as Internet cafes a n d libraries offer the p u b l i c more affordable access o n a l i m i t e d time basis. Furthermore, personal laptop computers a n d free wireless services offered on university campuses, coffee  1 6  This is especially true i n the "first w o r l d " .  74 shops, a n d other venues are a d d i n g to the Internet's accessibility a n d p o p u l i s m . The Internet is also progressively more user-friendly. A considerable amount of technical k n o w - h o w is not required to use a n d contribute to it (specially since the advent of W e b 2.0 technologies) a n d places such as p u b l i c libraries offer introductory skills workshops to their patrons at little or no cost. In short, g i v e n its functionality b e y o n d international boundaries a n d ease of use a n d access, the Internet has been, a n d w i l l i n a l l l i k e l i h o o d continue to be, a technological ally of the anarchist movement. Certain utilizations of this technology are, of course, more pertinent than others; social tagging is one such application. W i t h the expansion of social m e d i a o n the Internet, w e have the tools w e need for i n d i v i d u a l participation i n activities such as library i n d e x i n g - activities that were p r e v i o u s l y inaccessible a n d kept separate from the p u b l i c d o m a i n .  Conclusion A t the 2007 Supernova Conference i n San Francisco, C l a y S h i r k y spoke 17  of a 1995 meeting about p r o g r a m m i n g languages where a group of C++ engineers question the level of commercial support available to Perl users. Perl, an open source p r o g r a m m i n g language, does not have commercial, contracted support. Instead, Perl users utilize free community-based online platforms where they post questions a n d receive answers a n d support from other users. T o demonstrate their point, the Perl users at this meeting posted a question o n one  S u p e r n o v a is an annual conference o n technology, decentralization a n d connectivity organized b y K e v i n W e r b a c h and The W h a r t o n School. 1 7  75 of the support websites and received a n answer to their i n q u i r y b y the end of the meeting. S h i r k y says that even g i v e n this evidence, the C++ engineers were not convinced, a n d noted: "they d i d n ' t care that they h a d seen it w o r k i n practice because they already k n e w it couldn't w o r k i n theory."  18  Today, that same  support website is still operational a n d fully functional. Participants diagnose problems, offer solutions, a n d even write code for each other. " N o contracts are written. N o money changes hands. The w o r k goes o n . " People w h o care about 1 9  the existence a n d longevity of an idea w i l l contribute to it - freely. L i k e w i s e , library i n d e x i n g through bottom u p patron participation is realized t h r o u g h social tagging because taggers tag. The introduction of social tagging i n libraries compels us to recognize and re-examine our assumptions about i n d e x i n g , critical librarianship a n d information literacy a n d also to ask fundamental questions about the role of cooperation a n d authority i n h u m a n society; questioning a n d o p p o s i n g the status quo is no s m a l l aspiration a n d no small accomplishment.  18  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XelTZaElTAs  19  Ibid.  76  Chapter  Five  N o w We C a n D o B i g T h i n g s For Love: A n Epilogue  With love alone you can get a birthday party together, add coordinating tools and you can write an operating system. In the past, we could do little things for love, but big things - big things required money. Now, we can do big things for love.  - Clay Shirky (2007)  Debates concerning the advent a n d proliferation of W e b 2.0 technologies make manifest our most c a n d i d a n d deep-rooted presumptions about h u m a n society. Inadvertently or otherwise, they d i v u l g e trust or distrust i n o u r ability to b r i n g about change; they reveal our faith i n humanity. They strike a c h o r d so close to our hearts that our emotions r u n h i g h a n d w e speak of love, as C l a y S h i r k y does, i n order to emphasize just h o w deeply invested w e are i n this phenomenon. Librarians w h o are actively i n v o l v e d i n the social a n d political responsibilities inherent w i t h i n their profession ought not shy a w a y from the language, the politics, a n d the discussions. In a debate about p u b l i c collaboration i n library i n d e x i n g , w e cannot choose to ignore w h a t people are saying. E v e r y tag, every article, every user-generated comment is, by definition, of value. Some m a y be inclined to dismiss this discussion because it is i n d e e d d a u n t i n g to sift through tags, blog entries, podcasts, etc. Others w e l c o m e it as a harbinger of anarchy a n d collaboration h e r a l d i n g the end of authoritative control  77 i n d o m a i n s p r e v i o u s l y inaccessible by the public. M o s t sit somewhere i n between, listening still to arguments, discussions a n d verdicts w h i l e t r y i n g to better understand user-generated content on the open W e b and its role i n their lives. O n July 18, 2007, The Wall Street Journal Online p u b l i s h e d an exchange between A n d r e w Keen, the author of The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture a n d one of W e b 2.0's most vocal critics, a n d D a v i d Weinberger, the author of Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. The style of the discussion is forthright and informal: no punches are p u l l e d a n d assertions are made b o l d l y and without sufficient attempts at corroboration a n d case m a k i n g . Nevertheless, Keen vs. Weinberger is representative of the w a y s i n w h i c h w e - on blogs a n d at dinner tables - discuss collaborative technologies; it reveals what is i n fact at stake w h e n w e debate the w o r t h of activities such as social tagging. T o illustrate his points, K e e n sets u p a dichotomy: D i s n e y ' s Cinderella vs. Kafka's Metamorphosis. H e argues that collaborative technologies have not contributed something of great value; they have not e m p o w e r e d us as Cinderella's glass slippers d i d , but w h a t they have done instead is d o o m e d us to "stare at our hideous selves i n the m i r r o r of W e b 2.0." H i s emphasis o n the Kafkaesque elements of W e b 2.0 reverberates throughout the entire piece: the aggregation of user-generated content is grotesque, dangerous, unfathomable, a n d horrifically surreal. W e , the taggers, bloggers, a n d contributors, are the architects of Keen's nightmare. W e b 2.0 is  78 " e n a b l i n g anyone to p u b l i s h anything o n the Internet." W e have "forgotten h o w to listen, h o w to read, h o w to watch." W e are j e o p a r d i z i n g the future of broadcasting, music and p u b l i s h i n g industries. W e do not k n o w the value of "truth" a n d have lost "interest i n the objectivity of mainstream media." W i t h o u t the accountability a n d authority of experts "everything becomes miscellaneous. A n d miscellany is a e u p h e m i s m for anarchy." In Keen's v i e w , instead of v a l u i n g p u b l i c participation w e s h o u l d seek "arbiters of good taste a n d critical judgment", w h i c h he associates w i t h traditional m e d i a outlets. " C i t i z e n m e d i a " or W e b 2.0 has sacrificed "the impartiality of the authoritative, accountable expert" replacing it instead w i t h the " a n o n y m o u s amateur." After reading and w a t c h i n g M r . Keen's m a n y contributions to the W e b 2.0 debate I, like Gregor Samsa, have a distinct feeling that I have a w a k e n from "uneasy dreams" and found myself "transformed into a gigantic insect" (Kafka, 1952,19). W e are indeed dealing i n absurdities regardless of w h o m or what w e analogize as Kafka's cockroach. K e e n holds that the m e d i a is objective, the p u b l i c has little of value to contribute to our o w n intellectual a n d cultural domains, such as they are represented o n the open W e b , and our priorities s h o u l d lie w i t h keeping traditional m e d i a alive and prosperous.  David  Weinberger, his opponent i n this debate, disagrees. Weinberger argues that as w i t h other information sources i n our lives, it is u p to us to determine the quality and source of the information w e are c o n s u m i n g i n accordance w i t h our needs pragmatic, intellectual, aesthetic or otherwise. The Web, Weinberger writes, is  79 "far better understood as p r o v i d i n g more of everything: M o r e slander, more honor. M o r e porn, more love. M o r e ideas, more distraction. M o r e lies, more truth. M o r e experts, more professionals. The W e b is abundance, w h i l e the o l d m e d i a are premised - i n their m o d e l of k n o w l e d g e as w e l l as their economics on scarcity." The open W e b generally, a n d user-generated content specifically, help us better understand a w o r l d "richer a n d more interesting than the constrained resources of the traditional m e d i a let o n . " They a l l o w space for voices a n d contributions from people w h o , customarily speaking, d o not have opportunities or outlets for participation as they " w o u l d not, c o u l d not, or d i d not make it through the traditional credentialing a n d p u b l i s h i n g systems i n the areas they're w r i t i n g about." Public i n v o l v e m e n t on Y o u T u b e , Flickr, Blogger, a n d o n library O P A C s has the ability to generate content that is richer and more "fruitful" a n d " s t i m u l a t i n g " than the contributions of authorities, professionals, or experts alone. The disagreements between K e e n a n d Weinberger are indicative of larger conversations about user-generated content. Is W e b 2.0 " f l u s h i n g a w a y valuable culture" or is it "our culture's hope?" I a m hopeful. Social tagging, a social movement against the authority of traditional library i n d e x i n g , p r o v i d e s alternative access points to the content objects w i t h i n libraries a n d i n d o i n g so contributes positively to the information literacy of patrons. In this thesis, I have argued i n favour of adopting an anarchist p a r a d i g m for the study of social tagging because anarchism w o u l d preserve and further advance social tagging as  a socio-political tool a n d ensure that the most critical characteristics of tagging i n c l u s i v i t y a n d flexibility - are considered at every stage of development a n d implementation. In future research, it is vital to engage taggers a n d other W e b 2.0 collaborators i n conversations about their involvement. User-generated content on the open W e b has reached critical mass. The incentives a n d motivations b e h i n d this grand partaking w o u l d i n f o r m future theoretical as w e l l as practical considerations: perhaps they d o it for love.  81  Bibliography  A d a m s , C . J. (1990). The sexual politics of meat: A feminist-vegetarian critical theory. N e w York: Continuum. A l l e n , R. (Ed.). (1999). Pocket Fowler's modern English usage. N e w Y o r k : O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y Press. Retrieved M a y 21, 2007 from O x f o r d Reference O n l i n e , http: / / www.oxfordreference.com/ v i e w s / E N T R Y . h t m l ? s u b v i e w = M a i n & entry=t30.e3139 A n d e r s e n , J. (2005). Information criticism where is it? Progressive Librarian, 25, 12-22. 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