21 December 2007

Steve, the Artful Tagger

Folksonomies - the ad hoc tagging by anyone of anything - sound terribly democratic compared to your top-down authoritarian imposition of taxonomies, but it's easy to see why people are sceptical about them: how can anything useful arise out of something so chaotic?

Del.icio.us is one example of how such folksonomies can be really useful, and here's another (and note the groovy .museum domain - the first time I've seen this):

"Steve” is a collaborative research project exploring the potential for user-generated descriptions of the subjects of works of art to improve access to museum collections and encourage engagement with cultural content. We are a group of volunteers, primarily from art museums, who share a common interest in improving access to our collections. We are concerned about barriers to public access to online museum information. Participation in steve is open to anyone with a contribution to make to developing our collective knowledge, whether they formally represent a museum or not.

Very cool - both in terms of adding metadata to objects, and as far as getting the public involved with art. Indeed, this idea should really be extended to everything - imagine a database of public places that people could tag.

Great idea, then, but why "Steve"?

2 comments:

susan said...

Hi Glyn,

Thanks for your interest in the project. The project name "steve" doesn't actually refer to any person, nor is it an acronym for anything. It's just a friendly and easy-to-remember name. We hope that you and your readers will visit the steve tagger to look at and tag some art: http://tagger.steve.museum, and sign up for our listservs if you're interested in hearing more about what we're doing.

Best,
Susan Chun
(from the Steve Steering Committee)

glyn moody said...

Thanks for the explanation - I was hoping somebody would rise to my provocation....