Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CIL2011: Community Tagging by Cataloguing Staff

Suzanne R. Graham, Cataloging Services Librarian, University of Georgia School of Law Library
Can our users get where they need to go?  Community tagging helps to solve this.

The things Suzanne wants to look at for tagging were:
  • things that were unindexed - Moving to new software, information had been lost  How could tagging help recover this?  (e.g., genre headings)
  • users had unsuccessful searches - She can get a report of searches with no direct hits.  Niche searches.
  • things that were unintuitive (unintuitive cataloguing)  - e.g., adding "NAFTA" to records about that treaty.
  • places where user had tagged - look where broader tags might help.  She runs reports in her system to find places like this need to be enhanced.
New tags are placed in the 655 field.  That field is shown in the software's tag cloud.

Focus on access.
Be efficient, effective  and reversible.

Gretchen Caserotti, Head of Children and Teen Services, Darien Library

They are using SOPAC2 for their catalogue.

Kids do everything in a keyword approach / Amazon mentality

For example - Eight grade students are required to read a memoir, but how do they find the right memoir?  The catalogue returns 760+ hits, so how do they get to something more appropriate?  She had staff go into the catalogue and tag two books each with the tag "middlesex memoir" to create a list of pre-selected titles.

Kids are using tagging to keep track of their summer reading - what they read and/or what they want to read.  Having unique tags for each kid isn't a problem and it makes it fun for the students. 

Young people are willing to jump in and get their hands dirty.  We need to let them.

Question - How do you get staff to participate in tagging?
Answer - Limit how much you are asking staff to do.  Can the do one each?  Keep it bit size.  Over time, they will realize that it is not difficult.
Answer - Tags can create a cheat-sheet that the reference librarians can use when the desk is busy. 

Question - How do you prevent people from creating inappropriate tags?
Answer - You can't, but you'll find those tags  You can delete if you need to...and they haven't needed to.  User reviews seem to be fun and honest in terms of whether people are pro or con.

Question - Are adults tagging at Darien?
Answer - Yes, some users are engaging with the materials, e.g., writing reviews.  She thinks that they are also tagging.  Her focus, though, is working with kids.

Question - Can they identify individual patrons from their tags?
Answer - They could track back to figure out who the registered user is, but they don't (Suzanne).

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