Beneath the Metadata

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Interesting article and critique on the philosophical aspects of Folksonomies

Title: Beneath the Metadata. Some Philosophical Problems with Folksonomy. By Elaine Peterson.

D-Lib Magazine, November 2006, Volume 12 Number 11



Elaine Peterson

Associate Professor / Information Resources Specialist / Montana State University

<[email protected]>


"Philosophical relativism appears to be the underlying philosophy behind folksonomies. Because of those underpinnings, it is possible to jettison the limitations of a traditional classification statement such as "A is not B". In a folksonomy system, "A is relative to B", because each item's index terms will depend on the individual user and the tags he or she decides to use. A philosophy of relativism allows folksonomy to draw on many users with various perceptions to classify a document instead of relying on one individual cataloger to set the index terms for that item. Thus, classification terms become relative to each user." (