Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tag! You're it!

You know what's useful? Tagging. It must be, because we use it all over the place - flickr, blog posts, on our email, everywhere. And when you get down to it, filing in a filing cabinet is just tagging, albeit only one tag in one place. Unless you have cross-reference paper files, in which case I salute your ambition.

So when I got excited about the Powerhouse Museum's project to tag its collection online, it's not surprising. (By the way, are there other such endeavors I'm not aware of?) It has been asked of me, though, why would anyone just go and tag that? That's boring. It's one thing to tag it for your personal use, but tagging other people's stuff. Yawn.

Fair enough, I sputter, but, but it's COOL!

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered Google's Image Labeler. And was almost immediately obsessed with it. It's tagging. You're tagging images from all across the internet. But it's a game! You're paired randomly with someone else from somewhere else, and you need to match the words you use to describe the images. Some words are worth more than other. Man is 50 points, guy is something like 60, and boombox is 140. And you only have two minutes to match as many as you can and earn points.

I didn't think of it as doing a service to google by tagging; I thought of it as trying to get the high score (which I did hold once for about 8 hours - it broke my obsession, thank the heavens). If it were feasible this would be an excellent way to increase use of museum tagging projects.

Of course, there's the whole problem of reality. Museum tagging sites (probably) don't get the kind of traffic google does, so the near instant pairing up of internet users would not be possible. But are there other incentives? How do we make tagging fun? Is it possible if you don't have Google-sized traffic? I don't have answers.

1 comment:

ceiml said...

If you search the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco's ImageBase, you'll come up with tagged images. I just input "painting" as a term. If you're coming up with blanks, look for Paul Cadmus' Shore Leave--it's tagged.