to tag or not to tag

I was reading my Google Reader and Jonathan Rochkin’s Tagging and motivation in library catalog? post caught my attention. He asked about the “why” of tagging, the motivation that drive people to tag. He asked “Why would a user spend their valuable time adding tags to books in your library catalog?”

I have the same question as well, for I still don’t really grasp the social implication of tagging, aside from whatever stuff Dave Weinberger said on his ‘Everything is Miscellaneous’ blog on tagging.

Back to library catalog tagging: if I were a student and found a useful resource for my course, then I probably would tag it with my course number and the topic of the paper my professor assigned to me. That would make it easier for me to find that resource again. If my classmates did the same thing, then I could get a list of resources for my paper.

However, I probably would use the catalog as an “on demand” activity. That is, I would use the library catalog as needed and if I find a resource suitable for my paper, I want to get it right away and prefer none of my classmates find out about it. Chances are, my classmates would do the same thing. Tagging almost becomes a moot point.

OK. This doesn’t help. Sorry.

This might be different if I did a group project. Each of us could tag resources that would be useful for our project. We could have a list of resources that can be listed on our project report. That tagging collaboration would still be a short-live activity, however.

Personally, I found out that I am not really into the tagging thingy. I reviewed my delicious list and realized that my tags are actually the reflection of the content of the site, not the “why”. If I tag them by the “why”, most of them would probably tagged as “cool application” or “interesting stuff.” Or “the site mentioned by Tim O’Reilly because I follow his blog and, by the way, it is indeed an interesting stuff.”